It’s said that there are 2 things that are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to propose a third, change, specifically the old becoming new. It’s not always something that we look forward to but it is a reality of the world that we live in and it’s most clearly seen when the calendar rolls over to a new year. Many people take this opportunity to evaluate both their accomplishments and their shortcomings of the past year and try to come up with ways that they can roll out their new and improved self in the coming year. The problem is that often these plans of living our best life in the new year quickly come to an end causing us to become discouraged and wonder if it was even worth trying in the first place. For lack of a better phrase, it loses its luster. I’d like to suggest that in these moments we forget about the plans that we’ve made and focus our attention on the one who never changes, who never loses that new car smell. The one who causes the years to flip in the first place because, for the Christian, new is what defines every aspect of who you are.
There’s a lot of miracles throughout the course of scripture but I’m inclined to think that regeneration, the process of becoming new in Christ, is the biggest miracle of all. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that, “if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone—and see—a new life has begun!” (The Voice) Pastor and author Max Lucado describes it as “more than a removal of sin. It is a deposit of power. It is as if your high-mileage, two-cylinder engine was extracted, and a brand-new Ferrari engine was mounted in your frame. God removed the old motor, caked and cracked and broken with rebellion and evil, and replaced it with a humming, roaring version of himself. He embedded within you the essence of Christ.” What a powerful thought! Sin no longer reigns in our hearts and our identity, our very makeup, has changed for the better and because of this we can do as the psalmist encourages and “sing a new song to the Eternal; sing in one voice to the Eternal, all the earth” (Psalm 96:1, The Voice), a song of worship and praise to the one who has given us a second chance at eternity with him.
When I think back to the night that I chose to follow Christ I can’t help but think how my life would’ve turned out if I had continued to do things my way instead of letting God take over. Where would I be if I would’ve continued to let old habits make their mark on my life? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to spend a year overseas and I definitely wouldn’t be blessed with the community of faith that I have now. That doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes every day. There are certainly some tendencies that I continue to work on but there is also a keen awareness that I’m not the person now that I was before. I’ve been made new and the beauty of the Gospel is that, if you already haven’t been, you can be too.