Made New

I grew up in the church. Well, we started going when I was 4, or so, and I fell in love with Jesus from the first. I remained strong in my faith, giving my life to Christ in elementary school, and staying strong for a while. Middle school hit, and some bad things happened to me personally, I got addicted to girls, and my life began to spiral out of control. By the time I was in High School, I wandered far away from God. I considered myself a good guy, I went to church every week (I had to, no matter how late I got home on Saturday night from drumline or band competitions), I volunteered, did good things, but mostly did not want to go listen to the sermon, and I allowed myself an almost complete spiritual lapse. I didn't slip through the cracks, I found the crack, and I slid through it. This went on for some time, until I was so broken, that only God could save me, and save me He did. I also learned some things about God and myself. Jesus' love is aggressive. It is patient, and kind, yes, but Jesus didn't die to make us a better version of ourselves, He didn't love us just the way we were, He loved us anyway, and seeks to make us like Himself. He didn't say "I'll make you better." He said "You Must Be Born Again" (notice the emphasis on each word!). We must be made NEW. I don't need to be the old me. The old me had some good qualities, those qualities were just an extension of my master; but the problem was I have flaws that are irredeemable, and so I must be made new. Just like when Jeremiah went to the Potter's house and watched him making a pot, when the inconsistency in me showed itself, I had to be be smashed and reshaped, sometimes multiple times. I've had to learn that I can't have Jesus on my terms. I couldn't sleep with my girlfriend on Saturday and be cool with God by going to church on Sunday. I couldn't go out and curse, and drink myself into a stupor on Friday night, deal with the consequences on Saturday and maybe show up on Sunday and still be "Cool with God." I needed to be made new. I gave my life to Jesus, and He fought for that life. When I finally surrendered, I realized I needed to be broken completely so I could be made new. Even now, years later, sometimes I have to be broken and reshaped, not because God hates what I'm doing, but He wants to perfect me. Ephesians 2:10 says "10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." I need to let the Master work! Are you resisting Jesus' work in your life? Are you trying to hold on to something that you can't let go of yet? Surrender it all, and let Jesus make you new. The Process sometimes hurts, but you can't argue with the finished product! Luke 9:23-25 English Standard Version (ESV)

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? Luke 9:57-62 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Cost of Following Jesus

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus[a] said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Footnotes:

  1. Luke 9:60 Greek he


John 3:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)


You Must Be Born Again

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus[a] by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[b] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ The wind[e] blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”


Footnotes:

  1. John 3:2 Greek him

  2. John 3:3 Or from above; the Greek is purposely ambiguous and can mean both again and from above; also verse 7

  3. John 3:6 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit

  4. John 3:7 The Greek for you is plural here

  5. John 3:8 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit



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