Check out this picture—do you see a STOP sign?
Well, let me come back to that in just a minute. This post is meant for “born again” Christians. You know who you are.
It is meant for those people who one day recognized that they were distant from God and that God, in His graciousness and mercy made a way for us to be reconciled with Him through Jesus Christ as He gave His life as a substitute for us. Approximately 2000 years ago, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved because of our selfishness, and rebelliousness towards God and in the Great Exchange offered us forgiveness and peace with God, as our relationship with Him was restored. I hope you never get tired of hearing this gospel message.
Backing up just a minute as a way of explanation —before a person is saved, a person finds them self alienated from God. They are led by their own selfish desires. In addition to their bondage to their fleshly instincts, an unsaved person comes under the slavery to the evil influences of the Devil and his demonic cohorts, as well as slavery to this world system that seeks independence from Almighty God. Habits of sinful behaviors and selfish motives and attitudes become ingrained. Without doubt, the word “darkness” characterizes so well the life, and future potential of an unsaved person.
But, one day, as a believer in Jesus Christ can testify to, God brings in light. Through no doing of our own, a saved person recognizes that they are alienated from God due to their sinful, selfish, and rebellious ways and they repent. They change their ways and in humility they seek out a relationship with God.
With the assistance of the Holy Spirit of God now living in the person, an awareness of the power and wisdom of the Living Word (the Bible), and the support and training of the church community, a new believer grows in their understanding of the faith.
One of the key principles of our faith that every believer needs to understand is that the mandatory bondage to sinful habits of your former life are gone. The Bible says, “we are new creations in Christ”.
The Bible says in Romans 6:6 (nasb) that “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away (or another version says, “rendered powerless) with so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
In other words, as the New Testament speaks of so often, “it is for freedom that Christ has set you free”.
HANG IN THERE WITH ME —THIS IS GOOD STUFF!
Let’s go back now to the picture of the STOP sign. For probably 30 years, I have been driving down this street and I’ve come to a STOP sign. Its been right outside a big hospital. But the hospital has been taken down with the exception of just a few doctors’ offices and the city recently decided to remove the STOP sign.
What I found interesting is that over the past week or so, I have stopped numerous times at that intersection, but the truth is there is no STOP sign there. In other words, although I am free to just keep on driving, a habit has been formed in my mind and every time I go that intersection, these habits of the mind tell my will how to behave.
Can you follow the spiritual application that this STOP sign illustration is to our spiritual walks?
When I get tempted to take a second look at a pretty woman (an old, frequent habit), I don’t have to because I now free in Christ. The power of that old habit has been broken. I am a new creation in Christ.
When I get tempted to get angry at a person who I feel didn’t respect me for some reason, (an old, frequent habit), I don’t have to because I now free in Christ. The power of that old habit has been broken. I am a new creation in Christ.
When I get tempted to covet the nice things that a friend might have that I can’t afford, (an old, frequent habit), I don’t have to because I now free in Christ. The power of that old habit has been broken. I am a new creation in Christ.
Just writing these words is exciting for me and I hope they are for you, as well. If you are a Christian, the new you is not the old you.
God’s best for you is that you not only believe that, but that you act like it.
Why stop along the road of life when you are free to just keep on driving?