by Afi Cherise
It’s just me–your fellow sibling in Christ, here to let you know (or remind you) that the old you has died. Therefore, do not look for life in a dead place! The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that you have become a new person and have a new life when you belong to Christ. The things you used to find comfort and satisfaction in before you accepted Christ just don’t cut it for you anymore. Why? Because your encounter with Christ has upgraded you to a new lifestyle! God’s love hits differently. God’s joy hits differently. God’s peace hits differently.
The world offered you temporary satisfaction, where you had to act like everything was all good and carry the burdens of life. But the free gift given to you through Jesus changes everything you used to know. Paraphrasing the words of apostle Paul, You brand new now! But I get it, it isn’t easy to give up our wants and desires. Sometimes we find ourselves back at old stomping grounds for whatever reason. So let’s get into the scriptures and explore ways we can maintain our new lives.
Okay, so very important: we cannot maintain the new life Christ has given us in our own strength. If we could, then we wouldn’t be struggling in the first place. It is all about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is our helper (John 14:26). We were given God’s Spirit to identify the stumbling blocks in our lives that are causing us to die spiritually and remove those things from our lives. The Spirit gives us discernment on how to make the right decisions in accordance with His Word.
As the Israelites return to the Promised Land from exile, Zerubbabel is called to rebuild the temple because the first one made by Solomon was destroyed. The Lord tells Zerubbabel through the prophet Zechariah that the temple of God will not be rebuilt by Zerubbabel’s strength but instead by God’s Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). This shows that without the Holy Spirit the new temple could not be built. The Spirit of God equals the power of God (Acts 1:8). Therefore, when we decide to follow Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit is needed for us to build our new lives. We no longer desire our old ways when the Holy Spirit removes things that are not of God from our lives and reveals to us how to fill in those empty spaces with Himself.
Additionally, we need Spirit-filled people of God, like Zechariah was to Zerubbabel, to join us in our new journey. We are charged in Romans 12:1 to give our bodies to God as a living sacrifice and the only way we can offer our bodies to God and not conform to this world is by the sanctifying power of our Helper, the Holy Spirit. We have to be willing to let go of the wheel and to allow the Spirit to take control. The Holy Spirit lays down the foundation work of our new life, highlighting our gifts and abilities. He uncovers the skills God placed in us that our old selves either hid or distorted.
In his new position as Israel’s king, King Solomon requests wisdom from God to rule God’s people (2 Chronicles 1:7-12). Solomon aligned his desires with God’s will and asked for godly wisdom and knowledge to govern the Israelites. Our desire in this new life should be to serve God, as well as each other. In 1 Corinthians 12 verse 7, we are told that our spiritual gifts are given so that we can help one another. But our service does not stop within the church building. In 1 Corinthians 12 verses 12-26, we learn that we are to use our gifts with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to strengthen the church body. The chapter later discusses the need for each of us, as we are different body parts belonging to one body. The work of the Spirit in our new lives enables us to discern what the will of God is for our lives. Our spiritual (1 Corinthians 12:8-11) and natural (Romans 12:6-8) abilities are meant for us to take part in the commission given to us in Matthew 28:19, which is to possess the nations! Our new life brings a fresh understanding of our role in God’s kingdom business on earth.
At the end of the day, choosing Jesus is not easy, but we are given the Holy Spirit as an instructor and gifts to use for God’s glory and the expansion of His kingdom. We must keep open communication with the God that called us out of darkness into His glorious light. Prayer is our means of communicating with God. There is a reason the Bible says to pray without ceasing. It is through prayer that we receive assistance, peace, protection and growth in our new lives. The old you has died, but the new you is alive by the death and resurrection of Christ. You are not by yourself in this new life; not only do you have a family of salvation-minded people, but you can relax into knowing that God is with you and dwells inside you. So walk with confidence in your newness and do not turn back, you might be salty at what you see!
Take Care of Your Soul,