New life, Growth, Change & Holiness

“If in fact you gave ear to him, and were given teaching in him, even as what is true is made clear in Jesus: That you are to put away, in relation to your earlier way of life, the old man, which has become evil by love of deceit; And be made new in the spirit of your mind, And put on the new man, to which God has given life, in righteousness and a true and holy way of living. And so, putting away false words, let everyone say what is true to his neighbour:for we are parts one of another. Be angry without doing wrong; let not the sun go down on your wrath; And do not give way to the Evil One. Let him who was a thief be so no longer, but let him do good work with his hands, so that he may have something to give to him who is in need. Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is good for giving necessary teaching, and for grace to those who give ear. And do not give grief to the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were marked for the day of salvation. Let all bitter, sharp and angry feeling, and noise, and evil words, be put away from you, with all unkind acts; And be kind to one another, full of pity, having forgiveness for one another, even as God in Christ had forgiveness for you.”
Ephesians 4:21-32
{added to post 15.06.}

New life is always a wonderful thing. A few years ago we tried growing some veges and citrus trees – it didn’t work out. Long story short out of the 3 plants, 1 died, 1 got whipper-snippered and 1 got dug out by the dog. So this month we’ve endeavoured to try again.

photo 2

We bought some vege, lettuce, and herb seedlings, and planted some bean seeds. The first few days after being transplanted they looked battered and torn, which left us wondering whether they would survive. Each day, Grace fills up her watering can and waters the plants, pulls out weeds, and invests her time into these little seedlings.

I guess life is a bit like this. Well, born-again life. When God takes our hearts of stone, and replaces them with hearts of flesh. When God transplants us from the world to His Word, from selfish living to Kingdom living we begin a new life.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold the new has come!”

We can make choices and do our best to change, but ultimately, it’s Jesus that saves us and rescues us from the weeds that were suffocating us.

God’s Word changes us.
The bible tells us that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds – What is the starting point for how our minds are renewed? Through experience? No. Through preaching & teaching? No. Through good works? No. Through His Word? YES. By putting off our thinking that is founded in the World, and putting on the truths from God’s Word, our minds are renewed and our actions become transformed. NEW LIFE. Not a similar life, or a morphed form of our old life, but NEW LIFE.

One of my favourite books that I have found helpful in marriage is “An Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace. One of the reasons I love her book is that there are many diagrams and tables and charts in it – and I am that kind of person! The second is that Martha is a Nouthetic Counsellor. From what I understand, a Nouthetic counsellor, not only counsels from a biblical worldview, but also directly from scripture. This is how I found her book, and time and time again I am drawn to it to help point me to scriptures that will help breathe life to our marriage when life is waning.

Here is a quick snap shot (sorry it’s not too clear!) of one part of the book that looks at the biblical process of change in our lives.

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The struggle to read and pray…..and change.

As a mum of littlies I really struggle to set aside time to read God’s Word, to meditate on it, study it, discuss it. I ‘ve given many excuses as to why I don’t in this season of my life, and then today I read this verse:

1 Peter 4:7, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”

Self-controlled so that you/we/I can pray. I was quite convicted when I read this. There is no suitable excuse for my lack of prayer and devotion to God’s Word, except for my lack of self-control.

Ouch.

The life we have in Christ is eternal – there is no death – except when we die to self. Infact, new life in Christ, can’t be found and lived if we do not die to self first, and this isn’t a once off event when we walk up the front of Church, or throw away the drugs or alcohol. The choice to die to self and take on the life that Christ offers is before us each and every day. Oh, the mercy and compassion of God to give this opportunity to us each day is overwhelming.

His Word tells us that He promises to never leave us, and His Word tells us that NOTHING can separate us from His love.

Even though the consequences of our sin is death, He still loves us and bids us to come back to Him, through Jesus. (The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Romans 6:23)  We have to have the self-control (surprise surprise – a fruit of the Holy Spirit that lives within us as Christians! Galatians 5:22) and discipline to seek Holiness.

He gave us the Holy Spirit to counsel, and empower us to live this new life.

He’s given us His Word to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory, she sheds on our way.

Let us do His good will,
He abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.

 

The gift of new life, not just the gift to start again, but the gift of life, and life in fullness is ours, if we trust in Jesus Christ. Everything flows from either the accepting or declining of this offer for each of us.

It is easy for our awe to wane at the depth, breadth and height of what God has made available to us.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

It is when we engage in this life, through His Word, His Spirit and in fellowship with other believers, because of Jesus, that we bear fruit, we see change and become more Holy.

And you know what happens when God brings about Holiness in our lives? Revival happens – and that is the real circle of life.

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