“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
A new life is coming; a babe is being born! Not THE CHILD, but a child, perhaps of a friend or relative, or perhaps your own daughter, son, or grandchild. You breathe in the baby’s sweet fragrance and study the child’s countenance. . . so pure, so innocent . . . such a blank slate on which will be written a mother’s and father’s story of love, teaching, and prayerfully wise counsel.
However . . . Pure? Innocent? Blank slate? We may think these things as a child is born, but even as a toddler, the truth becomes loudly apparent. “Mine!” “NO!” And what about the time when the child is a bit older and he/she hits the floor screaming, with arms and legs flailing, “I do have self-control!” There it is! It takes only a few years to have proof that each of us is born with a sin nature, and that without something, all innocent babies will eventually grow to lose what is most important—an eternal life of love and peace with God—unless something changes their hearts.
What is that something? Let’s just quickly review: After man rebelled by disobeying the only command God had given, you and I were doomed to separation from Him throughout eternity. God, however, loved us too much to let that happen; He wants us with Him forever! So God needed a perfect man, one who would not sin, to take every evil, sinful thought and/or act of mankind upon Himself to end that gap of separation. The only one who could be that perfect was God Himself, so He sent the Word (the second person of the Holy Trinity) to come into our world as His only begotten Son, a baby, who would be named Jesus. (See John 1:1-14) As a baby, God’s FORM changed from the Word to that of a man, but His nature did not! He remained God always, pure and sinless. The baby grew into the God Man, Jesus, and He, in an act of perfect love, died in our place to save us from our sins on the condition we accept His sacrificial gift.
What happens to you and me when we confess our sins and ask Jesus to be our Savior? It is just the opposite of what took place when God became man! We immediately become God’s children, and His Holy Spirit (the third person of the Holy Trinity) enters us. Our form (our body) remains the same, but we have an entirely new nature! This is hard to understand, because when we look in the mirror, we look the same. However, we are new creations with a new nature that desires to sin less and less and, through the strength of the Holy Spirit in us, to grow in goodness and become more like Christ. ((Adapted from “Who Is Jesus” in “Who Am I?” a Christian, Biblical Introduction to Gender Identity for Girls.)
How exciting is this? A new nature! One that gives us the strength to resist temptation, to no longer be drawn to things of this world, but to things of God! “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 We also experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
So, rather than fleshly resolutions for the year 2022, which truly can be good (I’ll get to the gym at least three times a week, eat better, lose ten pounds, etc.), might it be even better for us, for our families, for our communities and world, to make resolutions to do our part in allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us? Prayer, Bible study, fellowshipping with other believers, meditating on the Word of God—all grow our heart relationship with Him through the power of the Spirit, changing us into the children God means us to be.
May you be blessed in the year 2022! May it be a year of hope and joy in the knowledge that God is with and for you, and may you grow in Christ, demonstrating to all your new nature if you have accepted Christ as your Savior!
John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” THINK: Have I genuinely asked Jesus to be Lord of my life and Savior?
Ephesians 4: 22-24 “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” THINK: Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to act in fullness in my life?
Ezekiel 36:26-27 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” THINK: Do I quickly respond to God’s commandments because I love Him and obeying brings me joy? Do I respond tenderly and submissively when God answers my prayers, whether those answers be yes, no, or wait?
Romans 8:6-13 “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.” THINK: Do I let my old sinful nature or my new nature control my life?
PRAYER: Dear Father, today, January 5, 2022, I affirm (or reaffirm) that I have accepted Your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Savior. I realize that the Holy Spirit was with me, pursuing me before I accepted Jesus as Savior; that the Holy Spirit came into me, creating in me a new nature desiring to do Your will when I did accept Jesus as my Savior; and that the Holy Spirit desires to fill me to overflowing each day so I may touch the lives of others for Your glory. Help me remember to pray every day to be renewed, refreshed, and filled with an overflowing level of Your Spirit. Help me to grow in You so that I may become more and more like You—kind, generous, loving, and self-controlled. And Father, thank you so very much for giving me time in a new year to bring Your joy and hope to others. May my new life and nature shine with Your love!
Disclaimer: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other 'teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.