There are multiple voices that can keep us from the destinies Christ has planned for us. Through my journey of rediscovering Christ, I have had to learn which voices to listen to and which not. I’ve also had to learn how to speak to myself and view myself, which I think is equally as important. What the world and others tell us we are is often based on several factors. Two of the biggest are what we’ve done right, and what we’ve done wrong. Some people like to measure us by our past. I know lots of people who have relocated or moved jobs just to start over. That’s because most people I’ve ever met have a really hard time allowing someone to start over after making mistakes (small or big). I find that those people really haven’t grasped the concept of grace, for themselves, or for others. But God brings us encouragement.
“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.””Hebrews 8:12
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23
Our society is also very success driven. I was raised in an athletic-minded family and academically-driven family. My life was pushed in a way that anything short of an A in a class or a medal at a tournament was not success. I developed an identity based on how good I was at school, sports, relationships, my career, etc…Nowhere in that was the true measure of success found. But God reminds us that our success is tied up in His success and that we have been individually crafted by Him for a purpose He’s prepared for us.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”Ephesians 2:10
In the tech world re-imaging is the process of installing a new operating system on a machine. This process includes wiping, or clearing, the hard drive entirely, and installing a fresh operating system. When the reimage is complete, it is almost like getting a brand new machine. We, as believers, go through this same process. Check out what it says in Titus.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”Titus 3:4-7
It can be hard at times to believe this. But we are being washed, regenerated, and renewed from within. We are becoming something brand new. We are neither a sum of our mistakes or of our accomplishments. We are heirs of eternal life. We are Christ’s. And because of that, we are a sum of Who He is and what He is making us into.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”2 Corinthians 5:14-17
We are meant to be compelled by love. To be reimaged means we are no longer viewed the same, and by extension, not viewing others the same either. Christ is literally installing a new operating system in us. The new system means we no longer live for ourselves. This process also means we’ve been given a new calling as ambassadors for the gospel.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
We all have a story. In that is the story of God’s goodness and grace. We can display the before and after stories. We can live out our faith so even the doubters can see what a changed heart looks like. God is in the business of remaking lives and using broken people. That’s something I find very encouraging. Just listen to some of these names from the Biblical story:
- Moses (murderer/fugitive)
- Samson (promiscuous)
- David (adulterer/murderer)
- Rahab (prostitute)
- Jonah (ran from God)
- Woman at the well (sexual sin)
- Saul (murdered/prosecuted)
Each of these people, today, are not looked at by what they did, but by who they became in and through the grace of God. They all serve as powerful stories of repentance, mercy, love, and a passion for the Lord. Everyone loves a redemption story. They are the most compelling. I think that is because we all long for that in our own lives. The good news is, that same thing is extended to all of those Bible heroes is also extended to us. No matter where we meet Him, at a well, a burning bush, the road to Damascus, a car ride to work, or in front of the bathroom mirror. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the response.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 3:8-14
There is nothing more precious than the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. The very thought that Christ has made you and me His own is overwhelming. It’s time we lay aside our past and keep pressing on toward Christ and His call on our life.