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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 01/23/19

All About the New

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STORY: Reinventing Me

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been working on a new “me” for three years now. It sure is a long process! In my case, the outward “me” weighs 65 pounds less (and counting), takes fewer medications, has more endurance, and operates with more grace and less judgment. But I’m still a work in progress. I’m glad that God is at work reinventing me from the inside out. He’s changing the things that matter for eternity.

When I start a new year, I love thinking about the word, “new.” I celebrate that God is at work, making all things new. And one day in eternity future, there will be a new heaven and a new earth. For now, let’s look at how He’s making us new. Facebook is having a challenge to show your first profile photo and your current one, to show a then-and-now type of contrast. Interesting to me how some of the ones who said God has done a work in them, had photos making me think reverse-aging was a real thing! No. It’s what God’s transformation looks like. Joy and peace are great wrinkle-releasers! Let’s see what Scripture says about being made new.

STUDY: New Me

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Romans 6:3-4 (NLT)

  • Going down into the baptismal waters symbolizes the death of Christ, and the faith we have in His payment for our sins. Coming back up out of the water represents His resurrection, and our new life in Him.
  • This passage mentions the glorious power of the Father. How is that power at work resurrecting you?

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. Galatians 6:14-16 (NLT)

  • It might seem odd to boast in the cruel cross that crucified Jesus. So why is it appropriate to boast in the cross?
  • The Message paraphrase explains that the world creates a “stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.” How are you working to back away from the influence the world has on your attitudes and actions?
  • How is God transforming you into a new creation?

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. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)

  • When you discard your old sinful way of life, you are ready for the Spirit to do what?
  • What is your new nature created to do?
  • How can you be truly righteous and holy when you still have the tug-of-war between the sinful nature and the new nature designed by God?

Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Colossians 3:9-11 (NLT)

  • This passage describes getting rid of the old nature and getting the new nature, almost like casting off old clothes and putting on new clothes. When you put on your new nature, what do you learn as you are renewed, according to this verse?
  • New life doesn’t depend on ethnicity, culture or religion. What (Who) is all that matters?

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven — and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all — life healed and whole. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (MSG)

  • As you focus on this paraphrase, to what are you attracted?
  • How does the resurrection of Jesus provide the power we need to have brand-new lives?
  • Since this brand-new life has started, what do you have to live for?

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 (NLT)

  • What does it mean to you, to belong to Christ?
  • How does belonging to Christ make you a new person? How does it contrast to the old person?
  • What does your new life in Christ look like? How does it contrast to the old life?

STEPS: Transforming into the New You

  1. Focus on the power of Christ as seen in His resurrection.
  2. Think about how that same power is at work giving you a brand-new life.
  3. Crucify any flare-ups of the old nature. Just like the cross came before the empty grave, killing off the old ways is what makes room for the new you.
  4. Live transformed, ready to serve the One who is changing you from the inside out.

Copyright © 2019 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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