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My Greatest Gift

I’m so glad that most of you didn’t know the old me.  While she wasn’t a completely terrible person, she was vastly different than the me of today.  In fact, she’s almost unrecognizable to me now.  

I look back at her and feel almost as if I’m watching a movie where the main character is one who is vaguely familiar.  I know the characters and I’m familiar with the story, and while the main character does feel familiar, she’s also someone who thinks, acts, and feels much differently than the me of today.

While that may not make much sense to you, it’s perfectly clear to me.  That old me and this new me ARE two completely different people. Maybe I should explain.

As a young woman, I found myself in a bit of a mess of my own making.  Poor choices, selfish living, rebellion, dishonesty, and many desperate attempts to fill a space in my life that could only be filled with Jesus had caused my life to spiral out of control.  

I didn’t like the me that I had become.   

Then, at 21, all of that changed.  I was given a whole new life.

My old heart was made new and filled with the love of Jesus.  My old flesh, my old mind, and my old emotions came under the authority of a new Master.  My whole self was filled with the Holy Spirit and I became a completely new me.

It wasn’t a small change; it was a complete and total transformation.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is Psalm 40:1-3 because I think it clearly explains the process that I went through.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and he heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”

That’s what happened to me when God gave me new life.  He reached His loving and merciful arms out to me and lifted me up out that sinful, shameful, dirty pit that I had crawled into.  He rescued me.

He washed me clean and then set my feet on the firm foundation of His truth and His love.  He redeemed me and called me His beloved daughter.

He repurposed me when he put a new song in my mouth.  Instead of living for myself, I lived for Him and my heartbeat became telling others about this love the new life it offered.

That’s why I feel so disconnected from that old me.  I don’t even recognize her anymore.  She was given a new life and the new me jumped head first into that new life that Jesus offered.

I know God’s gift of new life is real because I’ve experienced it first-hand.  I’ve felt it deep in my soul and I’ve witnessed it with my own two eyes.  

And, if he did it for me; he will do it for you!

You see, our God is a God of new life.  It is in the very essence of His character and central to the very core of who He is. His very breath spoke life into existence.  He exhaled new life into dust to make man.   He is the giver of life.

In the Old Testament, He breathed new life over and over into a people who rebelled against Him. He never stopped offering His people a way to atone for their sins and renew their relationship with Him.  He offered new life through repentance, an atoning sacrifice, and a renewed promise to follow Him.  Yet, His people couldn’t ever keep their end of the deal.

Then, In the New Testament, He offered Jesus as the cure for that endless cycle.  Jesus became God’s complete gift of new life when He went to the cross as the only perfect sacrifice that could atone for the sin of all mankind.  He broke the cycle when He died on the cross and then overcame death, rising again three days later, to take His place at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. 

And, because God loves us and knows our flesh, this new covenant doesn’t rely on us.  It only relies on Him.

Jesus did the work on the cross to give us the gift of a completely new life under a new covenant that is bound entirely in the power, sovereignty, grace, mercy, faithfulness, forgiveness, and love of God.  

He did that for us. Because He loves us.  He offers every one of us the opportunity to choose to lay aside our old life filled with past mistakes and regrets and choose the new life that he offers.  

In His graciousness, mercy, and love, he makes it easy for us.  He comes to where we are and stretches out His hand into our mess and rescues us.  He does the work of pulling us out of the pit because we can’t dig ourselves out of it on our own.  

But, he doesn’t stop there. He redeems us and washes us clean then sets our feet on the firm foundation of His truth and His love.  He repurposes us and invites us into the work of His kingdom so that we can share this good news with others.

If you haven’t grabbed ahold of this gift of new life, I’d encourage you to consider it.  It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.  

And if you have, then I’d like to challenge you to dig in your heels and stand your ground on the firm foundation of His truth and His love.  Bravely sing the new song that He has placed in your mouth so that you can share the good news of His love with others.

This gift is for everyone and you’re invited to share it.

Prayer:

Father God,

We love you.  We know without you, we find ourselves buried in muck and mire, deep in a pit of our won sin and shame.  Thank you, Lord, for looking at in us love, for coming to where we are, for extending your hand to us, and for rescuing us from that pit. Thank you that you redeem us and that you give us a firm foundation to stand on in this life.

Thank you for the new song you’ve placed in our mouth.  Help us to sing it loud and proud so that others will come to know you.

Thank you for this incomprehensible gift of new life.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.