“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Happy New Year, beloved child of God. May our Father’s love and goodness continue to manifest itself in real and tangible ways for you in this coming year. May you also be kept from harm and see only good days, as you walk in the good works that have been prepared by our Father, especially just for you.

I open this new year with an old message. One that has been preached since the days of Paul. But one that I feel is highly crucial for us to bear in mind as we look forward to new beginnings. And it is this – we too are new.

Of all the things that are new in your life; the year, your house maybe, your car, your job, your family, your children; the one thing that we must always remember is that we ourselves, the moment we accepted Jesus into our lives, we too have become new.

This is important because, let’s face it, we all have things in our past that we are not too proud of; things we wish we could undo. And if we don’t constantly remind ourselves of the new nature that we have taken on the moment we accepted Christ, then we make ourselves liable to getting hoodwinked by our memories into thinking that we are still that same old person we used to be.

You see, memories are very powerful things. They conjure up emotions and make us believe certain things about ourselves. But recently, National Geographic has taught me that memories are perhaps the worst source of information we can rely on. That’s because memories are fluid. And while they shape how we see ourselves; how we see ourselves, in turn, affect how we remember the past events in our lives.

There was a documentary done on how the memories of the survivors of the 9/11 tragedy changed over time. They compared two recounts from each survivor; the first taken just a short time after the tragedy, and the second, taken a decade after. And what they found was astonishing. Recounts differed in aspects such as location, event details, emotional state, and even their actions during and after the incident. In some cases, it even seemed as if they were interviewing a completely different person. But this fact became very evident from that study - for those to whom the tragedy had the greatest impact, their recounts also changed the most.

Now, if we then extrapolate that study to ourselves, we can begin to understand why while good memories ages like fine wine, the nightmares from bad memories get worse each time. But no matter what our memories tell us, one thing is clear; it very possibly was never as good nor as bad as we thought it was.

So when we allow our moods, or worse, our self-belief to be governed by those memories, we are allowing our self-assessment to be based on sentimental conjecture, and we all know how dangerous that can be.

Therefore, as we step forth into this new beginning, let us resolutely commit to letting fact be our guide, and stop allowing emotions to get the better of us.

Now then, what is the fact that we should let be our guide?

“Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:7 [AMPC]

Are you familiar with the process of ingrafting? It’s when you take a branch that has just been cut off its former trunk and place it into an incision made on the new host trunk, so that the two points of contact, while they are raw, can fuse together and become one physical entity; and that is how the Bible describes our relationship with Jesus.

You see, when we accepted Christ, we did not just become friends, though that we most certainly are because Jesus said,

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

And we did not just become family either, though that too we most certainly are because when Jesus rose from the dead,

“Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” John 20:17

But when we accepted Christ, this happened,

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us,…” John 17:20-21

We have been ingrafted into the body of Christ and God the Father. We have become one with them. In fact, so ‘one’ are we that Jesus says,

“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one,…” John 17:22-23

It is almost as if the same ‘life force’ that is flowing through Jesus and God the Father, is also flowing through us. I say almost, because ‘life force’ is such a limited word when it comes to describing the relationship we have with them. It is little wonder then that Jesus likened the relationship to this.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;…” John 15:5

It’s true, isn’t it? For those of us who have been conscious in our walk with Him, we would have realized that when we put our minds to it, we actually achieve nothing. It is when we let go and let God, that doors start to open, opportunities start to present themselves and supply starts to come. Indeed, the best things did come effortlessly,

“…for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Hey, that’s not an egotistical statement from Jesus. That is just fact. I mean, let’s be honest,

“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:27

“And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life?” Matthew 6:27 [AMP]

Don’t be mistaken, beloved; work is necessary and we are called to participate. But we need to realize that in and of our own efforts, life is difficult.

But not only is it difficult, the frustration is unnecessary as well. For we have already been ingrafted into Christ and now are tapping on the ‘life’ that flows within Him.

So just as a branch, when ingrafted into a new tree, becomes a part of that new tree; so too are you a part of Christ right now. You may have come from a thorny bush. You may even have been poison ivy. But you are no longer. You are now a part of Christ, a part of the new creation that is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. You may not even feel like you are, but that does not change this the fact – you are.

You know, when the Paul says that all things have become new, this is what He means.

“…Lo! all things be made new, and all things be of God, which reconciled us to him by Christ,…” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 [WYC]

Everything about us, our standing with our Father, our position as children of God, our sinless stature, our right to receive protection and provision from our Father; all these things are of God, or as JB Phillips puts it,

“All this is God’s doing, for he has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ;” 2 Corinthians 5:18 [PHILLIPS]

This is all His doing, and this is all His plan. It is because of Him that we are made perfect in His sight, for this is how we can all have the confidence that we are perfect in the sight of God.

“It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).” 2 Corinthians 5:19 [AMPC]

Read that slowly. God the Father does not count your trespasses against you, nor does He hold them against you. But because of what Jesus did on the cross, He has cancelled your trespasses, for Christ has paid the penalty on your behalf; and you are now living under the favor of God; yes, God is looking favorably upon you right now.

But I hear you asking, what does this all really mean for me?

Well, it simply means this. When you look into your new beginning, know that God is on your side. He is not out to punish you, He has no more anger against you, He is not looking to do you in. So when you read things like ‘man proposes but God disposes’ you will realize that for you it actually reads thus ‘I propose AND God gets it done’.

Now, this is not to say that God will give you everything that you ask for, of course not. Some prayers are not answered; well, not answered the way you were expecting them to be, that is. And it is because

“You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.” 1 Peter 1:17 [MSG]

But He is YOUR great I AM and all He will only ever want good for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]
So when things go wrong this year, and you know it will once in a while, our Father is not the cause, He is the solution.

Now, beloved child of God, that you know your true reality in Christ, that you know your true position in Christ, that you know who you really are to our Father, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to live out the rest of this year? What tone are you going to set for the rest of your life?

Take a tip from God Himself.

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.” Isaiah 43:18

And why should we do that? Because,

“Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

You are a new creation, born because you have been ingrafted into the body of Christ and God our Father, the day you accepted Him into your life. So step forth into your new beginning, confident in the new life that is flowing in you, for surely there are better days ahead because of Jesus.

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