Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:11
When a person is “born again”, “saved” or “redeemed” by placing their trust in Jesus for salvation and forgiveness of sins, all that that person’s life was built upon prior to that point is now washed away as an “old thing”, and God begins to do His “new thing” in that life. It is as if God has now laid a new foundation for that person to begin building their life upon, and that foundation is faith in Jesus as to who He is and what He has done for us. Now most of us gladly receive the cleansing and passing of all our sins, but what about all our accomplishments and things we may still be proud of that we did before our faith in Jesus? The Apostle Paul said that he considered all his prior accomplishments as “rubbish” or “garbage”! (Philippians 3:8) When we start our life anew with God, with His life in us by the Holy Spirit, all of our prior deeds pass away; this is because all we did before Christ was filled with sin and selfishness, even what we thought was good. We all begin again as “babies in Christ”. This is something I sure wish I knew and understood when I first became a Christian as it would have saved me much confusion when God began to change me and make new priorities for me. I was thankful for the forgiveness of God and was sorry for my sinful ways, but I tried to cling to my so-called “personal strengths” that I had developed early in life. This was like trying to build a house on rotten wood and fractured stone and hoping for stability in the structure. I was baffled when God humbled me and began to remold me and my character as I thought I had many things to offer Him “naturally” that did not need changing. This is simply not true for any of us. The “old” that passes away is not just sin, but all of what we were when we were enemies of God who lived only for “self”. My previous religion was to satisfy self while also doing some good for others to keep God “happy”; this is not the faith that Jesus Christ calls us to! We are to be entirely His for His purposes, not our own. The sooner we realize this and begin to abide in this truth, the better it will be for us as we can see God’s purposes for the challenges and changes He will put us through. He will build on the foundation of our trust in Christ and develop godly character in us that is formed by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. God will test all we do and are with fire from circumstances, His Word and His Spirit’s checks in us to ensure we are building something that will have eternal reward. Our natural abilities or character can never pass the test of God’s requirements for purity and Christ-like motives. As we start the new year and a new decade in 2020, please be sure you have Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and that all you do is led by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Let God use you and change you for His eternal purposes, and you will certainly find reward and the joy of the Lord from it. May God bless you in 2020!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek