“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone, the new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (emphasis added)
In Christ, I am a new creation. In Christ, you are a new creation.
When I first accepted Christ, I was a new creation. I didn’t understand what was happening to me, but I was different. As I look back, I realize I was excited about life in a new way. I was responding to the Spirit even though I didn’t know what that fully meant. I was proactive and had energy to do the things He put on my heart. I didn’t feel I had to do these things or else. It was more of a feeling that I had to do these things because I was so compelled to action.
Over the years, I’ve gone up and down in how fully I follow His promptings and there have been times when I’ve felt anything but new in my inner self. I’ve felt more like my same old self trying to figure out where I fit in to a new world.
What I found is that there are plenty of people inside and outside the church who will tell you in some way that it’s okay to be your old self. You are who you are and if it gets a laugh, if it gets you noticed, if it helps you deal with whatever’s going on, that’s okay. Because if it’s not okay, then that means they should be seeing change in themselves, too. And sometimes, that just seems too hard.
What would your life look like as a truly new creation? What will people think? Who will stay and who will go?
In Christ, you ARE a new creation whether you feel like it or not.
Just like a seed has everything it needs to become a tree, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you already have everything you need to live a new life in Christ. The Holy Spirit is like a seed planted in your heart. And just like a seed that is planted, certain things just happen. You don’t make them happen. You don’t make the tree sprout, but you can assist in the process.
If the soil is our heart, how do we do assist the work of the Spirit?
- Work the soil. Whether we like it or not, we have stuff buried in the soil of our hearts. When we moved into our first house, we found a huge wooden wagon wheel buried in our front yard. Rather than haul it off to the junkyard, those who were building the house, buried some of the garbage. We do that, too. Rather than look honestly at what has happened in our lives – what we’ve done, what’s been done to us – we deny, ignore and justify, burying it deeper and even letting the roots of that event grow. We need to let the Spirit clean out the junk and be willing to look at it, acknowledge it and let it go with His help.
- Water the seed. Water is life-giving. Water is needed for any living thing to survive. Without water, there is no life. What is water? Water is what brings life, encouragement and growth, new understanding and discernment. Practically speaking, reading God’s word, studying it with others and talking about it, as well as actually doing what it says is what it means to water the seed. People who have compassion while not letting you make excuses, but rather encourage you to “work the soil” are like water. Everything you do that moves you toward God is like water. Learning to hear the prompting of the Spirit AND responding to that prompting will grow your faith, your desire and your character. The great thing about this is we don’t have to decide what to do, we just need to do what the Spirit has decided we need. Everything we do when being led by Him will lead to our growth.
- Protect the seed. We do, however, still have decisions to make. There may be people in your life who try to keep the seed from growing, maybe even try to kill it. I know that sounds harsh, but most likely, it’s people who don’t have the seed themselves so they don’t understand it or it’s people who have the seed, but are unwilling to yield to the work of the Spirit in their own lives. Protecting the seed means not allowing anyone or anything to come between you and the Spirit. There may be times when, in order to protect the seed, you need to make a decision to distance yourself from a person or a situation, maybe a specific place or type of place, for a specific length of time. Protecting the seed may also be speaking up for the truth of Christ in your life regardless of the possible response. As one who has the Spirit, we can trust that He will give us the words and we can trust Him with the outcome of those words.
As a new creation in Christ, the Holy Spirit in us will never lead us to do anything outside the character or nature of Christ. He may refashion some of our old skills and talents for work in His kingdom, but He will never lead us to our self in ways that don’t align with Christ.
We ARE new creations. We have everything we need to operate and participate in this new life with Christ.
Something to Consider…
How have you seen or experienced the Spirit’s work in your life? In what areas of your life is there evidence of a new creation? In what areas are you still learning to let the Spirit have His way?
Which of the three things you can do to assist the Spirit’s work in your life (working the soil, watering the seed, protecting the seed) do you struggle with the most and why?
What have you found to be most helpful in learning to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit?