Encouragement for Today - Aug. 2, 2007
By Luann Prater
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians (NIV)
I was afraid of you. Yes, you. Do you know how long God has tried to work completely through me and yet was continually blocked because of my fear…of you? Most of my life my confident exterior has been a mask, like siding slapped on an imperfect house. I’ve been here, you just couldn’t see me. You saw the white vinyl siding that looked bright and cheery, but you didn’t see the real me.
If I dared rip off the façade you would see my rotted frame, gaping holes and leaky life. I was afraid you would run screaming at the sight, if you saw me exposed. I was afraid of your reaction.
I had lived with that shambled life for so long I couldn’t imagine myself as a new creation. I pictured the old hiding behind the veneer. What would you truly think of me if you knew the intimate details of my past? I was afraid to find out, so I hid it from you.
The Holy Spirit tried to comfort me, speaking softly to my heart, “You are a new creation. Live like it.” I would rebut, “Have you seen my past?” Then I would dutifully pull out my wallet-sized memories and begin flipping through them as a reminder of just how decayed my life had been. I would question, “Do you see this? Do you understand how people react to this sort of mess? They don’t embrace it, they separate from it! They run from this!” Timidly I cried, “Can’t you see this rotting foundation? See the lies that leaked in over here? Surely you can see right through these holes in my judgment!”
“Here is what I see,” the Holy Spirit whispered, “a new creation.” And He pulled out a mirror and held it up to my heart. The images that burned in my brain seemed to be blocking my view. They fogged the mirror. Then a nail-scarred hand gently wiped the fog away and I saw a snowflake; first one, then another. As the reflection of my heart panned out, the view became crystal clear. There was no run-down frame wrapped in white vinyl. No! For the first time I could see it, a brand new home glistening on a solid foundation surrounded by a blanket of white! And it was breathtaking!
Was this really MY heart? Streak-free windows allowed me to peak in at the brand new furnishings of peace, joy and kindness that were scattered in each room. For years Christ stood on the outside of my broken down heart, knocking. But once I let him in, all things were changed. I became a new creation.
So how about you? Are you afraid? As I speak to women across the country I find that 90% can’t let go of their past. They are afraid others will condemn them. Romans 8:1 tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We each have a past, remember ALL have sinned, but you no longer need to be afraid of your dark past. Ephesians 5:8 promises, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” You don’t have to be afraid. Christ is calling you to live in fearless freedom.
Dear Lord, Thank You for throwing our sin in the sea of forgetfulness and making us bright shining children of light. Help us each day to walk in that light and see Your reflection in our hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Bridge Called Hope by Kim Meeder
The Confident Woman by Anabel Gillham
On 3 index cards paste old pictures of you before Christ; you know the ones that pop into your mind when you think about your past. Now on the flip side of each card write one of these verses: 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:1 and Ephesians 5:8.
What triggers memories of the past?
How has your life changed since you became a new creation?
Who can you trust to share a story from your past? God will use your story to help others find hope.
1 Peter 2:10, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (NIV)
John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV)
Ephesians 4:22-24, “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.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105