Embracing Our Re[NEW]ed Spirit for the Sake of the Gospel
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17
Each New Year marks the opportunity for a fresh start. But for Christians, every day of our lives offers the opportunity for newness. Because of Jesus, we are not defined by our past; rather, we are made into new creations, redeemed and whole.
Often we feel so bogged down by the weight of past sins, pain and brokenness that we fail to see the newfound joys right in front of us. We want to look back and live back in those previous bad times, dwelling on our hurts and problems, living in the muck of our old wounds and longing to be identified by our victimhood. Whether we wish to be validated in our old sufferings for attention or because we simply still feel that we cannot move on, when we do this, we are ultimately rejecting the healing power of the Gospel.
Healing Wounds, Forming Scars
This harmful mindset is like living with an open wound that infects other areas of our lives, as well as the individuals around us. When we allow those wounds to heal, the remaining scars serve as beautiful reminders of all the Lord has done for us.
We are certainly shaped by our history, yet as we develop through sanctification, it is our present and our future that we live out our growth. Our scars, serving as the ‘Ebenezers’ of our redemption, can lead us to embrace our new selves in Christ, living for today — not only for ourselves, but also for God and others.
So we must take intentional steps toward healing. This inevitably involves a fair amount of heart work. By abiding in the Lord we experience the healing power of his grace and love. Only in Him can we take crucial steps in grace for ourselves, active forgiveness towards others and gratitude in our testimonies, which ushers in further healing in a miraculous way. This is how we grow in holiness, discipleship and love.
How Do We Change?
Every day is a new day — not just for the New Year. As long as we are breathing we can change. God renews His grace toward useach morning. Even when we think, “I just can’t do it,” or when we don’t know where to start, we can always trust the Lord.
And, in fact, the reality is this: We can do none of it on our own. We need Jesus, in every way, all the time. He is the solution. He works in us through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and through communities rooted in the Word of God, so we must seek that as well.
If we have failed in the past, it is because we tried to do it on our own, without Christ and without community — ultimately keeping our sins, fears and failures in the shadows. To step into freedom we must bring these things to the light. The Holy Spirit will guide us along paths of righteousness, and our brothers and sisters in Christ will walk alongside us in wisdom, grace, accountability and love.
Our Newness in Christ is Crucial for Others
It is in our resurrection in Christ Jesus — our very testimonies of faith and freedom in new life — that we can inspire others to know the healing, transformative power of the Gospel. This is how and why we bring all glory to God, through that of our lasting joy, unwavering hope, radical forgiveness and boundless exhortation in the Spirit.
“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” — Isaiah 61:3
Dirk Smith is the Vice President of EEM, which has been delivering God’s Word to the people of Eastern Europe since 1961, now reaching 32 countries in 25 languages. Their 2023 Fall “Hope” fundraising campaign aims to provide 800,000 Bibles and other biblical materials in multiple languages throughout the region. Learn how you can help at: eem.org/hope.