This weekend my sister had a baby, my first nephew. In an instant, I became an aunt and I did nothing to prepare for it – the birth of my nephew instantly made me an aunt. Likewise, in an instant, my sister became a mother. Her boyfriend instantly became a father. Our mother instantly became a grandmother.
A couple of times throughout her pregnancy I wondered, “Am I ready to be an aunt?” Obviously, I couldn’t answer the question. I could have surmised that the answer is, “No,” but that would not be true.
While I wasn’t exactly ready to be an aunt, in the sense that I had never been an aunt before, there isn’t anything that I could do to be prepared for it. The reality, instead, is that I will grow into being an aunt more than anything that I could do to prepare.
As I sat in the delivery room awaiting the arrival of my nephew, the experience brought to mind the new birth of the believer. Likewise, when we receive Jesus Christ, we instantly become a new creation and there is nothing that we could do to prepare for it. What comes after is our process of growing into the image of Christ.
This truth is vitally important to understanding what it means to follow Jesus Christ. Many Christians struggle with the truth of their identity and the reality of it.
The truth that we’ve been made new creations, righteous in the eyes of God, without blame, victorious, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, reconciled to God, seated with Christ in heavenly places, sons of God, and so much more.
Contrasting with the reality that we still struggle with sin, we still face daily temptation, we experience persecution and trials, we get sick, we experience loss and lack.
New? I don’t feel new. It’s not about how we feel or the woes of life, but about what God has said about you in His Word and what He has done in you by His Spirit. Receiving the free gift of salvation made you something that you were not prepared to be but, by His Spirit, you instantly become (in truth) and are able to grow into (in reality).
What does it mean to be an aunt? I don’t know. But, as I live out this new life, I will learn through my experiences as one. I wasn’t an aunt and now I am, whether I like it or not, I have a responsibility to it – to grow into it through active participation. The aunt that I am today should not be the aunt that I am in 10 years.
What does it mean to be a Christian? We don’t know. But, as we live out our new life, we learn through our experiences as one. When we become new we have a responsibility to it, to mature through active participation. Fortunately, we have the Holy Spirit within us who, without him, we are unable to mature into the image of Christ. The Christian you are today should not be the Christian you are in 10 years.
We renew our mind for transformation, obey the Holy Spirit as he convicts us of sin and convinces us of righteousness, submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, put off the old man and his desires, put to death the deeds of the body and live by the Spirit. By these things, and more, we mature.
We are not in the process of becoming, in truth, we have already been made. Not that we have already obtained the fullness of the promise. Instead, each day is an opportunity to be more of what we already are than we were yesterday.
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