Jay and I found ourselves preparing to pack up and move our family once again. It seemed like each move we've made included more children and more stuff! We were determined that in this move from PA to OH, we would be very intentional to simplify and get rid of some stuff - not children, we took them all along - but things we haven't used, junk we could part with. We hauled all that was left....and well...ok...yes...we still filled a semi truck, but imagine what it would have been like if we didn't do some simplifying!!
So we settled into our new home, put things neatly in place, and felt as though our belongings and home were off to a refreshing, clean start. I took pride in tending to the house. I remember being so excited that the pantry and drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms were not crowded, but nicely and neatly organized, some even empty! I continued to daily have the time to make sure that everything was put in their right spot and things were orderly. Laundry was done, folded and put away. All was well.
As I'm writing this, almost 4 years after the "honeymoon" stage of our move, I see dishes in the sink, mail on the table, toys on the floor, shoes by the front door and a pile of laundry! Not TOO bad, but there are definitely things not in their right spots, tasks that haven't been completely tended to as needed. Across the 4 years, we gradually let our guard down. Other activities and tasks added to our days and unintentionally, the care of the house became less of a priority. We still tend to it, but it kind of gets our left-over attention.
I don't know when or if you have taken that step to start a new life; when or if you made the decision to accept and believe in Jesus; when or if you dedicated your life to Christ. But I imagine if you have, there was great joy as you considered what your New Life would be like.
Colossians 3:3 starts by saying, "For you died..." Well, if you are reading this, we know you didn't literally, physically die. We understand that at the point of making the most important decision of your life, you felt a stirring to cease the way you have been living. You came to know who Jesus is, what He has done for you and realized you want to live in Him. Your desire in the decision was to start a New Life in Him. Verse 3 goes on to say, "...and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Let that soak in a bit.
I remember as a young child hearing the salvation story at a Bible Adventure gathering - held right after school at the Berlin Baptist Church. I was moved to tears and remember taking that step in raising my hand accepting the invitation to accept Jesus. I went with the others to another room where we received the booklet and they prayed with us. And then I went home. Over the next years through elementary, jr high and high school, I continued to grow in my knowledge of the Christian walk as I participated in church, Sunday School and youth groups. For me, I didn't have that explosive moment of transformation when I made the decision to follow Christ. As I consider my walk, I have come to the conclusion that my decision was genuine, and I did allowed Jesus to move into my heart. I allowed my mind to learn more and more ABOUT God. But, there have been moments and experiences and choices I have made later in life when I have intentionally opened myself even more to experiencing His grace, His love, His presence in my life.
I'm not going to get into my whole life testimony, but I wanted to shed perspective on what this New Life - hidden in Christ - might look like. Sometimes we make the mistake of tending to our New Life with the perspective that we have a New Life - a New START. But then gradually other activities, thoughts and experiences move in. Perhaps after a while, after the start, there are tasks and corners of our life we neglect or that are untended. Maybe we have reached a point where our New Lives in Christ are getting our left-over attention.
What if we considered our decision to follow Christ as it should be - not just a START - but a LIFE-LONG commitment? What if we embrace that this life we are living indeed is "...hidden with Christ in God"? Ponder what that means.
What if we woke up embracing this New Life DAILY? What if we go beyond knowing ABOUT this New Life in Christ, to knowing and living it in each day?
It's never too late to embrace our New Life in Christ. If you haven't made that commitment yet, the invitation is there for YOU today. No matter if you accepted Jesus many, many years ago, or just now, our Savior or as Col 3:4 says, "...Christ, who IS YOUR LIFE" invites us to not just know about Him, but truly know and experience Him...He is our New Life!
~ Many of us can recite the phrases of salvation: "Jesus died on the cross to save our sins", "God sent His Son...", "We confess our sins, and believe that Jesus died and was raised for our sins, and accept Him into our heart"... Move beyond reciting these phrases...understand the depths of them. Experience them. Embrace in your life what it all means to you. And be transformed by your Savior. Seek His Word to reveal even more!
~ Go back to the time you surrendered your life to Jesus.
- What did you die to?
- What was the experience like?
- Consider what your New Life has looked like since you made the choice to follow Him
- What can you do to daily embrace the New Life in Christ?
~ Dig into the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to passages about salvation and about the life we have as a Christian. What does it look like?
What a better time to consider what God has done for each of us through His Son, Jesus, as He sent Him to be a sacrifice on our behalf. Easter is a celebration of the life we have in and because of our Resurrected Savior!!!
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.