Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A New Creation

I was running yesterday in a pretty residential area and I glanced up to see this little girl on pink roller skates rolling down the sidewalk. She was just itty bitty! While she was skating away from me, she started moving her arms in dancing motions and I had to keep myself from giggling out-loud because I do believe I just had snapshot of myself around her age. My mind drifted to this time of year with Halloween coming up and I thought of all of the ridiculous costumes I managed to conjure up! One of them incorporated these roller skates but of course, we live in the country so they weren’t going to work real well on the gravel roads or in the car to get to our neighbor’s house a mile away. I was anything from a farmer, to a gymnast, to a box of crayons and my favorite, a professional dog trainer. Yup. I was determined at an early age that when I grew up I would be a professional dog trainer. I know, I know you’re going to ask “Joni, just how does one dress up to be a professional dog trainer for Halloween?” Easy peasy! Just find an old neon-colored-billed Sinclair gas station cap; cross out Sinclair and write “Dog Trainer” with a permanent marker; put one of those wolf t-shirts you could get in Branson, MO on, along with some jeans and a pair of cowboy boots. Oh and if you’re like me, and can’t bring your 150 lb dog in the car to go Trick or Treating, just grab the leash instead. HA. Yes—there are many days that I ask myself “How on earth did I go out in public like that?” The same way I did when I wore this nerd costume pictured. I guess I may fit this profile a little closer than the dog trainer since I do consider myself a nerd but in all seriousness, I believe I have managed to wear the crazy costumes for Homecoming, Halloween and Kanakuk Kamps because for one night, I got be different. I truly think that that is what 90% of the population who participate in Halloween want to get from the holiday. Another 9% want the chocolate, and the 1 % are the crazy people who just want to be scary and freak people out—which is just wrong!

Think about it---putting on a costume sometimes gives us the ability to say and do things that we normally would not do because the fear of what people may think when they see us. When we dress up. somehow we get this almost ‘fearless’ and ‘freeing’ attitude and we become alive in that particular character. It’s just like acting in any school play or musical—playing the part of someone different than ourselves allows us to actually have the confidence to do and say things we normally wouldn’t say. Psychologically, I believe we all have this somewhat deep desire to be someone different because of a discontentment with who we are. In some ways this can be bad because of course we would never want to compare ourselves and covet the life of another but I also see it in the light of a passage in 2 Corinthians that being transformed into another, more permanent ‘costume’ or ‘creation’ as being really good.
“16 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. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. R16 The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling R17 the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 ESV www.studylight.org

I do realize that when you are a new creation in Christ, you are not just merely putting on a costume, and that it is really a change in who you are because of entrusting your life with Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to come into your life---but the transformation that should take place inside is only bound to bear witness in your physical appearance as well. This does not come in the form of Christian t-shirts, purity rings and cross necklaces, but rather in living with that same fearless-spirit or that freedom of being someone different because of Christ in your life. Do you truly believe that Christ has set you free from whatever sinful person you were before you encountered him? Do you realize that we have just been transformed into a new creation? This new creation relates to a passage in Romans 6 that describes us being buried with Christ and raised with him in order that we may have a ‘newness of life.’ I know we have Halloween on the brain so please don’t think of the zombie-like raising from the dead but think of someone actually dying and then just waking up, getting up fully alive! And it’s because of the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, that we too can experience the power of living a different life than the sinful one all of mankind is born into. Do you understand how awesome that is? We don’t have to be ‘ourselves’ we can be someone totally different; different in the sense of ridding ourselves from the destructive behaviors of sin and freedom to live as children of God! We are free of guilt, free of regret, free of bondage to the world’s definition of who you are and more importantly, free from death! Now THAT is a holiday-worthy celebration! It’s ok to have fun and dress up once in a while; just remember that if you have accepted Christ, you are a new creation! Ha! I must say it’s a bit scary how legit I look as a nerd—almost more natural than the roller skating gymnast or the professional dog-trainer!

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