Out with the Old and In with the New

The holidays are over.  The tree is taken down and the decorations are packed away.  The resolutions made on the last day of the previous year are quite possibly already broken.  Yes, the new year has arrived and is off to a new start.  The world seeks to start anew, and many are eager to participate.  But can we really start anew?  Is it possible to change or be changed?  I believe it is and I will show how life changes for the new Christian.

We are born into sin and live in a very sinful world.  We are ruled by our own desires, the desires of the world, and of course Satan has his say in all this sinful nature.  What can we do and how can we possibly have a chance to change?  We can turn to the Lord.

Our opportunity arises when we hear the message of the gospel from other Christians (through random conversation or when we share our testimony as how we came to know Christ), but a good starting point is to read our Bible.  Every year approximately 100 million copies are either sold or given to someone.  It is translated in over 2400 languages which has the potential to reach approximately 95% of our world population.  Staggering if you think about it.  The power of the Word of God travels far and reaches many.  We serve an awesome God!

As Christians, we are told in the Great Commission to share the gospel with everyone.  These are endless opportunities to introduce the world to Christ.  Along with sharing the Bible, we must keep in mind that it centers around Jesus and a great start to understanding Jesus is to begin with the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  The gospel is shared by word of mouth and by people living by the teachings of Jesus (such as the disciples/apostles).  It is an important resource when one studies Christianity.  It is in these four gospels that the Christian obtains the most knowledge about Jesus, as well as, understands who Jesus is and what his purpose was.  The books of Matthew, Luke and Mark are called the Synoptic Gospels due to their similarity and that they all contain a lot of the same information.  Mark was written first, and Luke and Matthew share information that is not contained in Mark.

Matthew was directed to the Hebrews as a message of encouragement, while Mark was written to encourage Christians in Roman; thus, written for the Romans, and Luke addresses the Greeks using a historical stance.  John was written for the whole world and offers evidence of signs which prove Jesus is the Son of God. 

Symbolically speaking Matthew is the symbol of the winged man because it deals with the genealogy of Christ.  Whereas the winged lion is the symbol of Mark’s gospel because it deals with the resurrection of Christ.  By the way, the lion represents strength and courage to the early Christians.  Luke is considered symbolic of the winged ox and deals with the sacrifice of Christ (in the Old Testament oxen were one example of sacrificial animals used). John is the symbol of the eagle (considered the highest inspiration) and John himself wrote his gospel, 3 epistles and the book of Revelation.  These symbols were first mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Now that I have briefly discussed the importance of sharing the good news (the Gospel), and that it is a wonderful opportunity to use this to tell others, we need to understand why finding Jesus is necessary.  I mentioned above that the world is sinful and is in dire need of a Savior.  God sent his only son to us to serve the will of the Father by teaching us (reminding those who already know about Jesus as well) who Jesus is, why he came, and the sacrifice he would make all so that we can be reconciled to God.

Sinners are at enmity with God.  In fact, he cannot even look at us because of our sin.  However, because God loves us so much, he wanted to offer us a chance to be reconciled with him.  Enter Jesus.  Jesus bore the weight of our sin, was crucified, dead and buried to pay the ransom for our sin.  However, the good news is that He rose from the dead and became the victor over death.

We, once accepting and receiving Jesus into our lives, are now a new creation that lives for Christ and not the world.  We are instructed in Romans 12:2 that we once were dead in sin, but now we are alive in Christ; thus, transformed.

“And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Once we have received Jesus, after we have repented of our past nature, we learn in Colossians 2:5 that we will receive the Helper, which is the Holy Spirit.  This was also prophesied in Ezekiel 36:26 when stated that we will receive a new heart when we receive the Holy Spirit, who will indwell and help us become refined and transformed as 2 Corinthians 5:17 states.  Colossians 3:10 reminds us to put on our new self to maintain our new relationship with Christ.

            “For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.”

            “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”

            “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”

Paul has stated that Ephesians 4:22-24 reveals to us the importance of making this change.  It is the way to follow Christ, walk with Him in righteousness and true holiness. 

            “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Earthly resolutions are easy to make and easy to break, but the bond of man and God is not easy to break.  When we acknowledge His existence and seek Him, we will find Him.  When we find Him, we have a new life in which we can serve Him for His glory and reach others to join us by helping them see who Jesus is and will always be.  This is not a resolution, but rather a solution to why we are here on this earth.  We can serve a mighty God and we can reach out to others.  We must develop a relationship with Jesus and continue to seek Him for all our needs.

I was lost for many years and I suffered greatly for it.  I searched and found Jesus.  I asked Him into my life and I have never had any regrets doing so.  The Bible is my instruction book on how to live a life for Jesus and to reach out to others.  It has grounded me, constantly teaches me, and it has shown me who I once was and who I was meant to be.  It has given me a purpose.  I write this blog to speak of Christ and pray that someone who reads it may question themselves and begin to search for Jesus.  You will find Him if you truly seek Him. 

I do not dabble in making false promises to myself or others for the sake of tradition.  I risk it all for Jesus and willingly serve Him for His glory.  Are you tired of making flimsy excuses to change, only to be disappointed when they all fail?  Or do you desire to make a real change?  Fill that empty hole in your heart with Jesus.  You will find peace of mind, contentment, hope and yes, joy.  He is my strength and carries me more often than I can say.  I am currently experiencing a valley that is quite the challenge.  I do not walk in fear, but with faith and hope.  I know He will be with me and He will carry me as it gets harder to walk.  His promises are true, and He will never leave you if you come to Him.  It is worth everything to find Him.  Material possessions and wealth are temporary and will not satisfy you long-term.  Seek Him today and get to know Him.  His grace is more than sufficient.  You will never regret this decision if you truly seek Him.  I pray that you do.  Take care and God Bless.

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