"A new creation in Jesus Christ."
These are all beautiful concepts to sing about and hear in a sermon on Sunday, but how does it help us day to day? If this question has been nagging at you, I have some really good news.
This new creation that I am now is not limited in the same way my old self was limited. Before, I was at the mercy of my body and brains, stuck in my habits and addictions. Now, my re-created spirit is free and able to do what was impossible before.
Before God set me free, I could be held in deception and shackled in sin, sickness, depression, and anything else the devil wanted to use against me. Now, I have the authority of the name of Jesus that trumps any demon or power that tries to attack me (and I’ve had a few run-ins!).
You and I share this new life as Christians. Before, our minds were hostile toward the things of God and unable to receive the fullness of His knowledge, understanding and revelation. Now, the very Spirit of the living God dwells in us and teaches us, reminding us of what He has said, showing us the way.
And yet, if you’re like me, you can look around your life and see areas that are not yet totally free, old habits that haven’t been broken, circumstances outside of your control (and within it) that are oppressive, painful, or otherwise difficult.
Why Hasn’t It Happened Yet?
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t miraculously become perfect when I accepted Jesus. Actually, I do know about you because NONE of us are suddenly perfect when we become that “new creation”.
So what does the Bible mean by “new creation”?
Human beings are made in three parts: we have a spirit, a soul, and a body. Some Bible teachers outline it like this:
- My SPIRIT is the very essence of me, the individual that God created to be uniquely myself.
- My SOUL is made up of my mind, my will and my emotions.
- My BODY is the earthsuit that my spirit and soul live in that allows me to interact physically with the world around me.
When we are born again, our bodies don’t suddenly change, do they? The Bible makes it clear that we are still waiting for the “glorified bodies” that God will give us after we are resurrected (2 Corinthians 15:42-53)
Our souls aren’t completely made new, either. While some people experience sudden freedom from addictions or seeing things in their lives differently, we all discover pretty quickly that there are old habits that need to be broken, old ways of thinking and reacting that still need to be changed. The apostle Paul said, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 12:2), so it’s clear that our minds are not already perfect.
Therefore, we conclude that it is our spirits that are born of His Spirit, made alive, made new. And not only “new”, but just as God made humanity “in the image of God” back when He formed Adam of the dust of the ground our new spirit-selves have been “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24 NIV).
TAKING IT TO HEART: Start thinking about yourself in terms of spirit, soul and body.
When you fail to resist temptation, ask God to show you what part was at play. Did your body’s craving influence your decision? Did emotional baggage kick in and prompt you to respond in ways you regret? Is your mind believing a lie instead of God’s truth?
CHALLENGE: As you identify the areas in need of freedom and renewal in your life, exercise the authority God has given you over your own soul and body.
Even non-Christians have discovered “mind over matter” and learned to discipline their bodies’ cravings. You have even more strength available to you through the Spirit of God.
TIP: Talking to yourself is surprisingly effective. “No more coffee today. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is right here in me, and if he can raise the dead, then he can get me through this afternoon!”