I am “that person” on a Sunday morning during baptisms. You have probably seen me: the one who is casually wiping the corner of her eyes, blinking super fast and hoping the tears would absorb before they roll down my cheeks. As a pastor, I have had the privilege of being part of many baptisms. It never gets old. I love hearing their stories. I love the looks on their faces when they come out of the water and the cheering of the crowd celebrating with them as they break the surface.
At our church, when someone gets baptized we give them a T-shirt that says I AM NEW. This is my oldest son on the day he was baptized several years ago. I began thinking about what that word “new” means. The day after your baptism brings the same routine as the day before. Maybe you drove in your same car, to your same job, to the same desk to do life just as you did before.
What is new in Christ? I would like to suggest… everything.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! 2 Cor. 5:17
When my husband and I brought our first child home from the hospital it quickly became clear to us that the life we once had was gone. The old routine of getting a full night of sleep, of leaving the house with five minutes notice, or of doing things spontaneously was no longer possible. Suddenly, all of that changed (for the better!) with this little life we brought home. We had to learn how to live as parents.
Our son is now eighteen years old and it is still an ongoing process of growing, learning and experiencing an ever-shifting relationship with him. The day he entered our lives it was a clear shift: there was life before children and life after children. The distinct ‘before’ and ‘after’ moment of his birth is similar to how we experience a “new” life with Christ. The reality of that newness works itself out in our lives on a daily basis. This is what Reclaimed Story is all about: walking out our story that has been made “new” in Christ. The best news is that we get to support one another as we walk out our story.
Let’s highlight three things that become new as we invite Christ into our lives.
What name do you respond to? We can be assigned many different names in our lives. Some, other people call us and some, we call ourselves. I don’t know what names you have been labeled with at times, but for me, I know I have responded to: Unworthy, Unloved, Unknown, Not Enough and Disqualified, just to name a few. Perhaps you can relate?
The good news is, being “new” means that we don’t have to respond to those names anymore. You are made in the very image of God. You are Forgiven, Worthy, Loved, More than enough, and Qualified. I’ll bet the Bible has something to say about every negative name that we have heard about ourselves. What would change in your life if you no longer answered–or even turned your head–when THOSE names were called?
New Relationship With God
We get to experience what it is to be in a relationship with God. This is another game changer for our lives. This isn’t the same ole’ drive to work kind of day. The very Spirit of God is with us. He enables a life filled with adventure and new things. You will never have to be alone again. This is unlike any relationship we have ever had before.
We are fully known by God and fully loved. The God who created you created the very universe and desires to be in a relationship with you. You don’t have to do anything to earn His love. There is nothing you can do that will cause God to love you more or less. His love is not based on your performance. It is truly unconditional! How is that different from relationships you have had in the past?
New Relationships With Others
When we are made “new” it changes how we see others. The Apostle Paul talked to the Corinthians about being a new creation in Christ. Later, in a letter to the Colossians, Paul says that faith, hope, and love are the evidence of Christ’s transforming power in our lives. The same theme of faith, hope and love are repeated six other times in the New Testament. We have the opportunity to model that in our lives as well. We want for those who come in contact with us to experience God’s love in us and through us. Let’s be honest. We have all been in those situations where it becomes “us” & “them”.
We all know that it is easier to love someone who thinks and acts like us. My prayer is that you see everyone around you the same way Jesus does. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for everyone. I hope that the closer we draw in a relationship with Christ and His Spirit, the more we begin to see people who do not know Him, not as “them”, but as people for whom Christ died. How do we show faith, hope, and love to the people in our lives?
Before and After
The day we brought our son home from the hospital was a day that clearly brought a “before him” and “after him” reality. That day was so life-changing that we have a hard time remembering life before we were his parents. My relationship with Jesus is exactly the same. Being made “new” is a process that continues to work itself out in our lives. It is an ongoing relationship that is beautiful, messy, challenging and restorative. It is God’s grace and our trust in Jesus that allows us to display love to those around us in a way we never thought possible.
In the comments below, would you share one thing in your life that God is making ‘NEW’? Let’s encourage one another that we are not alone and we are all in the process together. Let’s reclaim the “NEW” in our lives!