A New You
In this week’s Bible reading, you were introduced to one of the most famous followers of Christ, the Apostle Paul. He preached all over the Mediterranean region, and wrote many of the books in the New Testament. Read the following to see what Paul says about what happens inside someone who chooses to follow Christ:
A New You
Who are you? What makes you, you? If you’re a follower of Christ, you might initially think that your faith is a new piece of the bigger picture of who you are. But in reality, making the decision to follow Jesus has changed you on the inside. Rather than adding to your identity, Jesus radically transformed your identity. You are not the same. You belong to God and He is willing to help you change into the person He desires you to be.
The Apostle Paul wrote many letters to the early Church that became part of the Bible. In a letter to the people of Corinth regarding their decision to follow Christ, Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV)
If you have decided to follow Jesus, you may not feel like the old has passed away and all things have become new, but nonetheless it is true. How does that work? Let’s SPEND some time examining who you are now if you’ve embraced Christ through faith.
1. You have a new position.
As a believer, you are “in Christ,” which means you are connected to Jesus Christ. And this leads to becoming a “new creation.” The old you has passed away, to be replaced with a brand-new being. In the original Greek, “new creation” meant a “new species of being that has never existed before.” Your position in Christ completely changed you on the inside. This comes through God’s grace alone, not due to anything you’ve done or will do. And it gives you a fresh start and the ability to live a different life.
2. You have new possessions.
“Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Your old ways coping with life are no longer necessary. God’s love for you reached out in spite of your sinful behavior. And now the tools you used to deal with problems are outdated. Instead, you’ve been given new tools for living. Being “in Christ” means you’re a partaker in the nature of God.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he referred to it as having “put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Possessing this new “clothing” allows you to walk with God in his power and holiness. He has not left one tool out. You have enough faith, enough kindness, enough self-control, etc, to be able to obey God. And obedience gives you even greater faith, kindness, self-control, and every other virtue. Learn to embrace and use those new tools.
3. You have new potential.
Have you ever known people who just didn’t recognize how smart or talented they were? And as a result, they didn’t live up to their potential within?
You need to recognize who you now are! Psychologist Joyce Brothers said, “An individual’s self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior… the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change, the choice of your friends, mate and career. You cannot consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.”
Being “in Christ” means that you are loved and accepted by God Himself. This can lead to you accepting who you are and what you are capable of. Your self-concept needs to be transformed. Recognizing who God has made you to be will allow you to live up to your full potential and achieve what He has called you to achieve.
4. You have a new purpose.
In 2 Corinthians 5, after Paul tells his readers that in Christ they are made new, he goes on to say in verse 20, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us.”
God didn’t save you just so you could go to heaven. He has an overarching purpose for you, to represent him here on earth. Every gift, skill, and personality trait is designed to be used in obedience to God, to appeal to others and draw them to Christ. When you embrace that purpose, it gives your life direction and uses your abilities for the most important reason possible: to give life to those around you.
If you’ve accepted the FREE GIFT of salvation from God through Jesus Christ, you haven’t just made a simple decision. Who you are has been radically transformed. God has covered over your sin and made you a new creation. Regardless of your previous actions, He loved you enough to die in your place. And now, through Christ, you are equipped to fulfill your purpose in Christ.
Talking to God
Continue to practice prayer. Today, take at least a few minutes to talk to God. During that time, allow yourself to tell him how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking about, what worries you, and what you desire. Get comfortable sharing your heart with God.
Also, continue to read the book of Acts. To stay on track to finish this week, you should read chapters 12-17. Chapter 16 is a good one to emphasize if you aren’t able to read the entire assignment.
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