I have a pair of black pants I bought at Kohl’s many years ago. They are the perfect pants for so many occasions. The first time I wore them, I fell and scraped a hole in the knee. I was so bummed so I did something I don’t often do — I repaired them with an iron on patch.
I continue to wear the pants and can justify doing so for almost any occasion, even though I know there is a hole. After all, it’s patched and barely shows unless you are looking. I choose them over and over because they are familiar, comfortable and black, but they aren’t my best look.
When I came to Christ, I was six years old. Thinking back on that experience, I sensed Jesus asking if he could be a part of my life. Overwhelmingly, the ask was cushioned in love — his love for me. He loved ME. At that moment, I became a new creation. Scripture tells me the old was gone and new life began at that moment. Already I was transformed; but not yet cognizant of the full benefits of transformation.
As I aged chronologically, I understood more of what it meant to be a Christian, but not necessarily what it meant to be loved unconditionally by God. I learned about good and evil, how to tell the difference, who should receive my judgment or my love based on what I observed. I learned to earn love rather than receive it. I learned to parcel out love and affection, to those who earned it, rather than giving freely. I became competitive, jealous, and judgmental.
I learned to be uncomfortable with too much talk about the love of God for fear we were ignoring his wrath and judgment. In many ways, I felt more comfortable with a sermon about sin, repentance and hell than love, forgiveness and heaven. I deserved judgment, but not love.
And that’s why I keep reaching for old behaviors. Already I am a new creation on the inside. When God looks at me, he doesn’t see my dirty, sinful humanness cloaked in the righteousness of Christ. Ephesians 1 says I am HOLY, BLAMELESS, RIGHTEOUS…already! The part that is being transformed is my awareness, not my reality. You see, my awareness is not yet fully there. So at times, I reach for old behaviors and attitudes.
Paul says it so well to the believers in Galatia…
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Galatians 5:16
I can’t do this on my own. Living fully aware of the love of God for me requires the help of the Holy Spirit. He reminds me that I am transformed; I am a new creature! He reminds me I don’t have to be defensive, judgmental, competitive or jealous. He shows me how to love others as freely as God loves me. He shows me how to love myself.
I may find comfort in the pants with the hole, but they don’t truly reflect who I am. I am royalty, bought with a price, set apart for His kingdom, deeply and unconditionally loved. None of these benefits depend on what I do; they are a reality of saying yes to Jesus.
Have you responded to God’s invitation to be reconciled to him through Jesus? If so, you already are a new creation; the old is gone! It may not feel like it yet, but that doesn’t change reality!
… Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!2 Corinthians 5:14-17
Go ahead and have a little celebration dance ’cause that’s good news, friends!