Sunday, January 10, 2016

A New Year, A New Identity, A New Commandment

A new year is a time for reflection on our lives and how we have lived our lives. It is a time to live out the Christmas truth that Christ has been born in our hearts. In Christ we have the good news of great joy that we can live as new creations with our new identity as a child of God. We read in 1 John 3:1

“See how much our Father loves us for He calls us His children and that is what we are!"

But first we need to face the bad news. God has created us in His image but our hearts have been corrupted by evil and we have lost our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We live our lives with our egos on the throne of our hearts. We seek pleasure and try to escape from pain,  suffering and death. We seek to live significant lives in a broken and fallen world.  But the real problem is our need to belong to God. In Genesis 8:21 we are reminded that God knows that everything we think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood.

But Jesus came so that we can be reborn again. Our new identity as a child of God is the mystery that God has revealed to us in Jesus Christ as we read in Colossians 1:26-27:

“This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God's people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.”

Understanding that we are a child of God does not mean that we will live the perfect life.  We are still imperfect but as a child of God, we will have the desire to seek the perfect will of God.  We have the role model of Jesus who came to show us what it means to be a child of God in submission, obedience, communion and service.

We will also seek to obey the new commandment that Jesus gave us: “Love one another as I have loved you.” When we have experienced the wonder of God's love, we will be empowered to love one another.

The challenge for me in this New Year is therefore to learn to surrender all of my life to God so that I will be totally dependent on His grace. I need to cultivate the discipline of repentance so that I will be freed for obedience. I need the discipline of confession as I seek communion with God. Only then will I do good works for His glory and not for mine. My calling is to be a witness of His compassion and righteousness. I can only share what I have experienced. I can only love when I have experienced God’s love.

When we live our lives as a story of God’s love, the truth of Psalm 145:7 will be fulfilled.

"Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness."

May God be glorified in our lives in the new year of 2016.

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