As we look ahead to Spring, we get a whole new refreshed joy. Joy in the brightness of the days and in the hope of the renewal of life.
Last week, we began a new study on A Living Hope (you can begin here). We focused on the encouraging verse in 1 Peter 1:3. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (NIV)
This verse, which is the guiding light of our study, gives us the hope of a renewal of life. Because Christ conquered death, we have A Living Hope!
The new birth is a spiritual birth, not a physical birth as we see Jesus explain in John 3. The new birth that we are given is through accepting a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
What happens next?
Sometimes we think when we ask Christ into our lives fireworks will go off or rays of sunshine will fall down on us from Heaven. Maybe you were somewhere where you felt so overwhelmed by the situation or your surroundings so it was quite spectacular.
If not, don’t feel guilty. I want you to remember the moment but not get caught up on it. I want your focus to be in developing a relationship over time just as in any good relationship.
For me, and I know for many people the fireworks and the heavenly AWWWW, didn’t happen. That’s okay. Something, big inside of you did happen and that what we are going to celebrate today!
Quite honestly, I think this is better than fireworks. Before accepting the promises of God, you were in complete rebellion to God. Not able to walk in His ways because His ways were not in you.
Ezekiel 36:26 says, And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (NLT)
WOW! The heart we were born with is a stubborn heart of stone. A stone is cold and incapable of absorbing. I want a new heart, how about you?
I want a heart that can love and be tender and responsive. That is what we are given. In that, we have an opportunity for a new life. As one commentary put it, why try to patch up an old life when you can be given a new one?
This newness, this fresh new start, is what gives us the opportunity to receive God’s Word that He will write on our hearts. This is exciting! Not living in rebellion to God means we can walk in His freedom.
Before Christ, you were a slave to sin, now you are free in Christ (Romans 8:1-2). Be careful not to put yourself back in the bondage you were before you put your trust in Him.
The changes in your life will be the evidence of a new heart!
Trust Him to change your heart. He will seal His Spirit in you and lead you to walk in His ways. Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
When I became a believer, I tried to live by all the rules that I was taught. Do this, don’t do that. I lived for so long in the bondage of getting it right that I continued to rebel. It seemed easier.
What I didn’t realize was that I put myself back in the chains that Christ freed me from. When Christ sets you free you are freed indeed! (John 8:36)
When you become a believer, you may feel pressure to get it all right immediately. Trust me being perfect is hard to live up to. Don’t do that! Christ died for you because He was perfect. He will perfect us and one day when we see Him, we will be made like Him.
You may be thinking as I did, it is really hard. In fact, it is too hard and so you resort to your flesh and desires to lead you. Trust! Put your Faith in Christ to do this in you!
Open hands say to Him, Lord, I cannot do this on my own. I need you!
He wants to change you. That is why He says you are a new creation. That is why He gives you a new heart. He wants you to walk in the freedom and grace that He has given you.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
This is where we rejoice! Old ragged self, gone! We don’t need to go back to that. Christ not only conquered death on the cross but He conquered sin! The battle has been won! With Christ, you are on the winning side!
If you are struggling with your old self Romans 7 and 8 is of great encouragement that you are not alone.
No matter how impure you were living before Christ, you can start new, start fresh. Just like a new Spring morning, buds of hope will begin to appear.
What do you feel is harder, trying to live the “right way” or accepting Christ to change you, (which means submission of self)?
How often do you find yourself trying to break free from the bonds you have already been freed from?
Do you pray with open hands or tightly closed fists?
What is the most exciting part about being new? What do you do with that excitement? For who’s purpose do you rejoice in it? Who do you share it with?
If you have further questions or thoughts about today’s reflections, I would love to hear them in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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