January 4, 2008
New Life in the New Year
by Fred Alberti, Crosswalk.com Manager of Communities
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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5
As I consider the New Year I'd like to draw your attention to something else that is made new… Us!
When we become a follower of Christ we are given a new birth and a living hope.
What does that mean though?
I like what Paul had to say to the Ephesians:
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer lives as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking… You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:17, 22-24
Our new birth comes through the renewing of our minds. Instead of a mind that is clamoring to please our selfish desires we are given the desire to please the Lord.
Our old habits are laid at the feet of the cross and we instead strive to deny ourselves for the sake of our new Lord and Master.
Paul addressed the Romans with the same thing when he said:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
You will notice that in these passages this renewal is something that we are to be actively doing ourselves.
We are to put on the new self.
We are to refuse to conform to the world's pattern.
We are to pursue the transformation of the renewing of our minds.
These are not passive changes that just happen without any effort on our part.
But even in this knowledge we are not to assume that we can accomplish them all within our own strength. We can, however, take comfort that in our weak areas we are made strong through the power of Jesus Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 12:10.)
But what if we fall?
What if despite our best efforts we give into the temptations we face?
When we fall down, we get back up.
Paul had this to say to the Corinthians:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24
When we fall we get back up and continue to run the race as though despite our failure we were still in the lead because despite our fall we are still "more than conquerors through him who loved us…" (See Romans 8:37.)
Welcome to the New Year, a new slate, and new life shielded and held safe by the power of God.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Give a receiving blanket or some other baby gift to a family who has recently rejoiced over the addition of a new life.