“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
We are nearing the season of Lent and many will be “giving up” activities, foods and drinks for 40 days. In most cases, it is return to where we were and the “beat” continues.
Our scripture text today from Paul’s letters to the Church at Corinth hinges on a very small, but powerful word – the word “if”. How many times have you heard lamentations of “if”. Things, situations and even life itself would have taken another course if attention was given to “if”.
With the ascending of Jesus the Christ to his father in heaven after the mission of redemption was completed, it was a difficult time for those leaving pagan gods to accept the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth. After all, they were steeped in their ways, so Paul is telling the church that it is either the old way or the new way. As it was then, it is now. Either we are followers of the word of God, hence children of light, or we follow satan and are children of darkness. There are not multiple ways – right or wrong.
Last year, I visited a church in America where the motto is “The Church that Glorifies God and Edifies Humanity”. It was youth Sunday and the theme was “I Am Greater Than I Was”. There was the litany, the leader and congregation, using this topic, which I share with you.
But you did not so learn Christ. Assuming that you have really heard him and been taught by him as truth is in Jesus.
I have accepted Christ as my savior and developed a personal relationship with him and I know him for myself.
Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new nature created in God’s image, in true righteousness and holiness.
Because I am greater than I was, I will renew my mind by reading and studying God’s Word daily to help me change my thoughts and my attitude.
When angry, do not sin, do not ever let your wrath last until the sun goes down.
Because I am greater than I was, I will not use my anger as fuel for revenge. I will make peace with those I may have fault with using kind words, and not give the devil opportunity to ruin my life.
Let no foul language or evil words, or worthless talk come from your mouth, but speak positive to the spiritual progress of others as it is fitting to the need and occasion, that it be a blessing and gives grace to those who hear it.
I will use kind words that are helpful and encouraging when talking to others as well as be mindful of the words that come out of my mouth daily.
Therefore, be imitators of God, as well-beloved children. Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
I will seek God’s guidance and do as instructed; I will not love just to get what I want, but love like God loves, giving it my all because it is the right thing to do.
Look carefully how you walk, live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise intelligent people.
Understanding what God wants, I will not waste time on useless work. I will use my head, study God’s Word to renew my mind, leave my old ways behind me, seek God’s guidance, follow His plan for my life, trust the process I must go through and do what I know pleases God because I am greater than I was.
If, as a nation plenteous in young people, we follow God’s word, we will be able to declare, ‘I was bound, now I am delivered. I was distracted, now I am focused. I was self-doubting, now I am self-assured. I was weak, now I am able. I was unsatisfied, now I am fulfilled. I was fearful, now I am courageous. I was defeated, now I am victorious and unstoppable. I was defiant, now I am respectful. I was confused, now I am enlightened. I was stressed, now I am blessed. I was quiet, now I am confident.’
Yes, Apostle Paul, wonderful changes happen when good enters into our lives. Old things are passed; behold all things are become anew. And is there any among you that despises new things?
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