Here is the next submission:
A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
Our pastor is not the only one fond of this verse. Let me explain. When I was 8 years old my parents moved to a small farm east of Vancouver, WA. There was no local church nearby. A neighbor invited my mother to bring my brother and I to a Sunday School run by the American Sunday School Union in the small two-room school I attended. This was our church.
When I was a freshman in high school I went with the young people from Sunday School to a youth camp in Turner, OR. We rode on the back of a flat bed truck sitting on our sleeping bags. There I heard this verse for the first time. I was told I would become changed, a new person. That was rather frightening to think that I would be a different person. I wondered how I would change, what would it be like. I did not know whether I wanted to ask Christ into my life or not, but I did. Obviously I am the same person I was. I still have the same physical traits and idiosyncrasies, but as I matured, I learned that the Spirit of Christ in me is the power of my Christian faith.
Over the years I have found that this Spirit of God’s Grace has enabled me to do many things I never dreamed of as a young person. Thirty years as a Navy wife, raising four children, alone a good share of that time, did much to mature me. I discovered Christ is far more willing to help me change what needs to be worked on than I am at letting Him.
“New creation” is not an instant miraculous make-over, but He has promised us help. As I do my part, first by asking and then too by acting, He enables. As part of the family of God we have certain responsibilities. J. B. Phillips expresses it this way in his translation, Letters to Young Churches, “For this very reason you must do your utmost from your side, and see that your faith carries with it real goodness of life.” 2 Peter 1:7
It was Christ’s Love and dedication to endure the cross that makes this power available to all of us, all of the time. The more we experience Christ in our lives, the more we prove what He accomplished at Calvary. A favorite verse of mine is Romans 12: 2, again in the Phillips translation. “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the Plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity.”
This Lenten Season, may we as a church family experience Christ’s Power of “New Creation” in our lives in a deeper way; may the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians become reality: I pray that out of His glorious power He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in Love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this Love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God. Eph. 3:16-20.