Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. (Col. 3:1-4)
On the children’s TV show, The Magic School Bus, one of the children on the bus was a female student named Phoebe who had recently transferred to Walkerville Elementary and she would often say, “At my old school, we never ________” (fill in the blank with whatever the students on the Magic School Bus were doing). As I would watch the show with my children, I would find Phoebe’s tendency to compare the present to the past slightly irritating. It seemed to me that she was never able to fully enjoy the adventure Ms. Frizzle had led the class into, because she was always thinking nostalgically about her past. Perhaps the writers for the show created that character because many of us are a lot like her. The past can seem familiar and comforting especially, when the present feels new and strange.
When Jesus paid the full cost of forgiveness for all sins on the cross, he opened the door to living a new life for everyone who looks to him in faith. However, that new life can seem unfamiliar and strange to us. It can feel like we are Phoebe at a new school where all the old familiar experiences and faces are gone. Naturally, we tend to revert back to what is familiar: our old ways, our old guideposts and our old patterns. But here is the problem with doing that: those old ways of living come out of our old nature and our old nature cannot lead us in the way of new life. It can only lead us away from God, and toward destruction.
Thanks be to God, for Jesus has given us a new nature for living the new life he has given us. Even though we will always have inner conflict in this life between our old and new natures, because of Jesus’ love-in-action for us, our new nature is our true identity, and Jesus will help us to live that new life with him.
How do we do that? By thinking of Jesus and the higher things that he is giving us: forgiveness for all our sins; new attitudes and perspectives like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23); the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit Who will guide us into new ways to live with new guideposts and new patterns; and a future life in the new heaven and earth to come where all things, including us, will be restored and made new. On our first day in that new realm, our life with Jesus, which is presently hidden, will be revealed for all to see and our struggle with our old nature will be over.
Let’s live our new life now. As time goes by, the rhythms and patterns of that new life will become more familiar and comforting to us. Then, when we are reminded of the difference between our old and new lives, we can say to ourselves, “In my old life, I never used to live like I am living now. Thank God, I am not living my old life now!”
Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of new life with you. Please help me to rest my mind on you and all the many higher gifts that you give to me. Amen.