by Brooke Fossell
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17:
It is easy to forget that we are given new life when we become a Christian. After all, we still have many of the same habits, family history, problems and people in our lives. Even as someone who has been a Christian for many years, I usually stop and pause when I read this verse, inviting God to show me ways of thinking and habits that I still have that do not line up with His Word and His plan for me.
I used to have a tradition at the end of the school year (which I plan to renew!) of prayerfully evaluating my life, asking God and myself a series of questions, such as:
Am I growing in my ability to love others well?
Are there areas in my life where I feel stuck or “dead?” Areas in which I need God’s wisdom and help to get unstuck? (When this question resulted in a “yes,” which was often, I made this area a topic of prayer and scriptural study, seeking godly counsel if I didn’t notice a shift within a couple of weeks.)
Am I choosing to renew my mind regularly (Romans 12:1-2)?
Are there habits or interests I choose to pursue that take my focus away from God and His lordship?
Who is in my community of people that I can help or allow to help me? Are we truly helping each other or hindering one another? (When this community became smaller than five or six people, I invited God to show me who He wanted in this community—often the people He brought to mind were unexpected treasures.)
I found that the process of asking these questions and answering them honestly usually resulted in a sense of a “newness of life.” Just naming the areas where I felt stuck, and acknowledging them to God and a trusted few, paradoxically gave me new strength and vision, along with a powerful sense of renewal.
I believe God wants even the most mature Christians to walk with a sense of expectancy, a deep hope, and an experiential knowledge of His ability and desire to regenerate His people. The goal? To enable us as His loved ones to love others and ourselves even better, to reclaim those areas of our lives that were stolen by the enemy (John 10:10), and to deepen our trust in and relationship with Himself and our faith community. As I actively pursue a growing relationship with God and others, my life feels new. This new life in Christ is not just for those newer to the Christian faith!