Well, regardless of that, I believe receiving anything "new" in life is an enhancement. Come on ladies, you know what I mean. Yes, the new black shoes among the other ten pair you have make you a brand new fashion savvy woman! It's scientific fact! And fellas, don't think this is a phenomenon that is beyond you either. New car, new man? New tools and suddenly you're inspired to tackle that "honey do" list! Yes, adding something better than what you have - upgrading if you will, does enhance your life, how you feel about yourself and in a nutshell, how you treat others!
So, of course when I think about things like this while drinking from my new coffee mug, I begin to lean into God's word and wonder...
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Woah. This is better than a new coffee mug. With that, I have the same coffee, same temporary caffeineated buzz, same sink full of dirty dishes when I'm done. But with Christ, the old things go away and EVERYTHING has become new? Overnight, no. But through Him, because His precious blood was shed for me, because He died and rose again, because I believe in Him; through His power I am new! Do I still have a sink full of dirty dishes, well...yes in a sense!
For many years I've struggled with a shameful habit of self-gratification that I used to justify with the most ridiculous excuses ever.
"Oh, everyone does it."
"Well, at least I'm not out in the streets doing this, that or the other..."
Each time I gave into the temptation of this habit, the temporary escape I felt was replaced with shame and guilt because I was destroying myself. That shame and guilt would lead to a paranoia that everything bad that happened the following day was directly related to me being disobedient. It got to where I'd justify not doing it if I had something important or exciting to do the next day. (This later worked in my advantage of kicking the habit, but in the meantime, I had little willpower.) How could I allow the Holy Spirit to move in me if I was occupied with a mountain of remorse that I didn't turn over to God? I'm still too ashamed to admit what it even was, but I can tell you this: Since I truly embraced the principle behind Matthew 9:17 in my life, I now understand how I am a new creation.
"Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
Oh I hope I didn't lose anyone with the wine mentioned in a blog that started out with coffee : /
Basically, once you turn you life, heart and trust over to Jesus and desire to live according to His will, you are new. In your newness God has things for you to pour out, to prosper, to succeed and give you fulfilling purpose in life; however that cannot be done if you are full of your old things. It can't be done overnight, you don't have to "get right" before you allow Jesus into your life, but you can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't be in the word, claiming to live the life of Christ Jesus and knowingly commit acts that are displeasing to our heavenly Father because they are justified by what the world says is ok. God can't pour into you the new beautiful blessings He has in store for you if you aren't willing to go to the altar and pour out the old gross things at His feet. Ask Him to help you. He will. No matter how repulsive, shameful, hurtful, evil, big or little they are.
There are many people who would consider my habit nothing to lose sleep over. So did I until, there was one night a few years ago where I was really struggling with letting go of my habit. I couldn't find anything to distract me and I couldn't sleep as the habit was something that I used as a way to relax. I tossed and turned for an hour and finally mentally began to just call out and cry out to Jesus. I literally felt like there was something pulling against me to keep me from crying out. The more I cried, the stronger the pull until I was literally shaking each time I said His name. What felt like hours finally passed and I woke the next day feeling like a weight had been lifted off of me. I hadn't given in. What a victory! To know that night that the simple calling of His name kept me from giving into a temptation that was destroying the temple God had blessed me with made me feel brand new.
Did it last forever? Not at that time. I succumbed to it multiple times again before about a year ago, I went to go to bed one night realizing that even if I willingly thought about it; which I hadn't in some time, I had absolutely no desire to give in, entertain the notion and was repulsed by the mere consideration of it. That was my Hallelujah moment, true victory in it's finest fashion. I had to be willing to completely surrender my old, to get the new. And can I just say that the new changed a LOT in me!
Which is why as I sit here sipping my coffee from my new mug, I don't miss the old coffee mugs. They had sentimental value sure, but the coffee just didn't taste as good.
Allow God to bring newness into your life. Accept Jesus in your heart today, surrender the old and allow the newness of God's pure, unfiltered, unconditional and overpowering love come into you!
Did someone say how? There is no perfect formula, all you need is an open heart, willing spirit and a prayer along the lines of this (Confession, Belief, Acceptance):
Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace leads to repentance and a transformation in my heart. Transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
In your precious name, Amen.
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" - Psalm 34:8