2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
January is often a time we try to reinvent or improve ourselves, but oftentimes, before the month has even closed, we have given up on those resolutions and promises we made to ourselves on January 1st. Many of us find ourselves discouraged, wishing to change the deepest parts of ourselves and unable to do so. We think if we try hard enough or find the right program, the changes will finally stick.
But the road of self-effort and behavior modification is not the way of Christ! Praise the Lord! His way is better and will bring the fulfillment we are all longing for.
Paul is telling the Corinthians that following Christ isn’t about following the rules, and a new life isn’t about trying hard enough. Only Jesus can change our hearts and lives in the way we want. Following Jesus is about staying grafted into the Vine, seeking to know who our Savior is, and letting the Holy Spirit work in us.
The more we know Jesus the more beautiful he will become in our eyes, the more we will long to be like him. In Him and through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are made new. Not through our own efforts, but through the life-giving blood of Jesus.
This way is hard because we have to let go of ourselves and our agenda and our will. This way feels scary because we don’t know where following Jesus like that will take us. But there is no safer place to be in life than within the will of God. Where He leads us there will be rest, and storms and trials of life will not overwhelm us. We are never alone as we follow Jesus and in Him we will find the change we all so deeply long for.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, you are good, you are holy, and you are the source of new beginning and new life. We worship you and thank you that you see us and know us. Holy Spirit, make us like Jesus today. May we say with joy, “behold the new has come”! Amen.