Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!— 2 Corinthians 5:17
For those of you who drive, have you ever missed an exit or a road sign while looking in your rearview mirror? I believe that’s how many of us live our lives. We keep looking back at our past; therefore, we cannot see what God has set before us. We concentrate on our past hurts, wanting to blame others, and our ill feelings consume us and damage our current relationships. We are angry over a past wrong done to us, yet the person we are angry with has no idea and is probably out enjoying life.
For some of us, we long for the ‘good ol’ days’ where we remember everything in a positive light. It’s almost funny, and yet so sad at the same time, that many Christians will never grow into full maturity because they can’t seem to hang their hats on 2 Corinthians 5:17. You see you and I, after giving ourselves to Christ, have become new creations. Not perfect or without blemish. We are not without trials and tribulations. We certainly are not without temptation. The issue is that far too many of us can’t seem to move beyond who we used to be or what we have done.
Philadelphia’s Teen Challenge choir blessed Calvary Church with praise and worship this past Sunday and it deeply moved me. To hear some of these individuals give their testimonies about how God has been and is doing a new thing in their lives was such a blessing. They sang each song with the goodness of God, and the recognition that God is a healer and deliverer ringing through every note. Their body language said, ‘I love you Jesus, and even though you have blessed and delivered me this far, I have a greater expectation of what is yet to come.’
Calvary’s Rick Dodridge, director of the Philadelphia chapter of Teen Challenge, spoke from 2 Corinthians 5:17. I can imagine that when some congregants heard the scripture, they immediately thought of the men and women standing before them who are residents of the Christian faith-based program that focuses on rehabilitating those with drug and alcohol addictions.
Well, my friends, I want to challenge you to think about your own life. Yes, the individuals who are ministered to through Teen Challenge have issues that are made public through their participation in the program. But, what about you? What issues or past hurts and failures are you holding on to? Just as Pastor Rick used this scripture to depict the healing of the Teen Challenge participants, he could as easily been speaking to any one of us. We may not have a substance abuse addiction, but we all have some issue that we are struggling with that may even go undetected by those closest to us, or by other Christians.
Can we be transparent for just a few minutes? Take some time to sort through your life using the Word of God as the barometer and see where your addiction lies. Ask God to show you some areas or the area where you need to completely surrender to Him and ask Him to be the Lord over your entire life, not just on Sundays or whatever day you attend church.
As Pastor Rick taught on Sunday, I could not help but think about how ironic it was that we were serving Communion. What better way to embrace 2 Corinthians 5:17 than through Communion? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!” The death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior is the foundation of you and me being reborn as new creations in Christ Jesus. How powerful was it to receive a message of reconciliation through our Father and then partake in the celebration of the ultimate sacrifice, which is the reason why all who believe in Christ can enjoy the fruits of being a ‘new creation’ in Christ Jesus.
If you have not begun to live your new life in Christ Jesus take your lead from the brave men and women of Teen Challenge. Healing begins with the first step. Admit that you need help and surrender to Christ. He can and He will do the rest. Christ has your new life and He is just waiting for you to let go of your old life. Stop looking in your rearview mirror so you won’t miss what God has for you and your future. Let go and let God.
Christopher is a contributing writer for the Calvary Church Newsletter.