Monday, May 2, 2011

Beautiful Things

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (NIV)

What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! (NLT)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV)

Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons (buds/blossoms)! Look at it! (MSG)

The above are four different versions of the same scripture - 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Whenever I hear this verse, it always brings me back to my days at Mercy and how I had to die to self when I was there. I had to let God rid me of that old life and make me new. Please hear me when I say that that is definitely an amazing process! The whole idea that God is able to make all things new - everything...even the most broken life...and mold it into something that reflects His image - is truly mind-boggling.

I have heard this particular verse more times than I can even count. It has, in fact, just become another verse that I can quote when it is appropriate, but it lost it's value to me...that is, until cell tonight.

Sometimes, when I read this verse, I actually feel horrible about myself. I look at my life, and I look at the standard that seems to be set by this verse and I think that I failed. I find myself thinking thoughts along the lines of 'What new? All I see is old.' and 'Clearly I'm not a good enough Christian because my life isn't reflecting this. I'm not 'new'. Maybe I never will be?'

My cell leader, Chrissi, was having a conversation with a friend about this very thing recently. She shared it with us tonight, and what she shared really hit me. I'm still digesting everything, but I decided to blog about it to help process the truth. She focused on the concept of "newness".

When something is new to you, it doesn't necessarily make a whole lot of sense. It's confusing. You make mistakes along the way while you're learning how to master the new thing. But that's give yourself grace because the whole concept of doing whatever it is that you are doing is new.

For example, when someone first gets their drivers license, they don't automatically get behind the wheel and do everything properly. No, they have to learn how to drive. It's a process.

So why is it that when the Lord reveals to us something that we need to work on, we feel so horrible when we don't get it right the first time? God gives us grace because He expects us to mess up. He doesn't expect us to get everything right on the first try. But somehow, we've gotten it into our heads that that is exactly what needs to happen.

Another thing we talked about is how maturity directly correlates to ability and responsibility. When we are babies, we are not mature enough to cut the lawn. I mean, think about how absurd it would be if we expected a 10 month old infant to cut the grass? Eventually, we will be expected to cut the lawn, however before that is to happen, we have other key skills that we need to develop. First we have to learn to crawl, then to stand up on our own, then to walk, run, and jump. We have to learn how to do all these key motor skills before we can even begin to learn how to cut grass. Once we get to the point where we have mastered these skills, then we are ready to begin learning how to mow the lawn.

The same goes for us as Christians. When we first become a Christian, our whole world changes. Everything is new! It's overwhelming when you look at the mountain of new things you have to learn and eventually conquer. Everything from your old life becomes something that you have to change. You have to change the way you think, the way you speak, and the way you act. Essentially, you have to change your whole life.

What I love about God though, is that He recognizes that it is all new to us! He sees the big picture, and He knows what we need to work on first. When you look at everything together, it seems like an impossible task, but when you are walking in relationship with God, it's possible! He starts to show us little things that need to be dealt with - one thing at a time. When He reveals an issue, the process to overcome it is all new to us! We have to learn!

For example, God shows us a lie that we've been believing, we are not automatically going to stop believing that lie. It probably doesn't even seem like a lie. For me, one of the lies that I believed for years is, "I am ugly." When I was first learning to defeat that lie, I didn't even think it was a lie! The concept that I was beautiful was brand new to me. I didn't believe it...and I never really understood it. So when it came to changing my beliefs about my appearance, God took me down a path of discovering the truth about myself. Now though, when I look in the mirror and the first thought that comes to mind is, "I'm so ugly!!", I am able to combat that lie and I don't even give it a place in my mind! The process of overcoming that lie is not "new" anymore.

God keeps revealing new things to us as we mature in our relationship with Him. Right now, He's teaching me about my tendency to seek approval from others instead of Him. The process of going to God for approval first is definitely "new". It's hard. I struggle with it everyday. But one day, it won't be new. I'll find all the approval that I could ever get with God. (Not to say that I won't LOVE receiving compliments ;) but it just won't define me.) There will be something new that I have to learn.

I'm so excited about this concept of newness because it is really teaching me to extend so much more grace to myself! It's okay for me to struggle with the new concepts and new things that I'm learning!

I am constantly being made new. I am always learning new things. I'm excited for the new things that I get to experience and the new life that I get to live!

It's so beautiful!


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post! How perfect! I love this whole concept. In fact, I JUST posted TODAY about the same scripture. I know you posted this a couple weeks ago but look at God's timing. I found this posting on the day I blogged about the same scripture. :) I love JESUS... and I want to love Him more. So proud of you Lexi!

    Love, Monique


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