After all the years in church, bible study, volunteering, I sometimes I wonder if I really get it. Not that I doubt God’s sovereignty, or that Jesus takes away the sins of the world. I wonder if I am as sincere as I think I am. It feels like I am just barely getting by, being resuscitated enough to squeeze out another week.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
I accepted Christ into my life when I was 16 years old. I know that it couldn’t have been prompted by anyone but the Holy Spirit. My parents weren’t particularly religious, and my friends weren’t either. I was baptized in the swimming pool of my high school where our church used to meet. When I came out of the water, I had chlorine in my nose and eyes and I tried to smile for the camera. Nothing changed.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I fell away from attending church when my parents stopped going. My new boyfriend was atheist and I was more interested in school work and getting ready for college. I did like to sit on the couch with my grandma who had a hard time getting around. We would watch Billy Graham on TV and she would ask me if I was praying and going to church. I thought of the Precious Moments bible with its boys and girls in biblical scenes with their large droopy eyes. I know she prayed for us grandkids a lot. When I would come over she always gave me the little books and pamphlets she got in the mail.
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
One time I drew a map of my life. The circle in the middle was me. There were several other circles radiating from the center with different aspects of my life: school, orchestra, writing, art, family, friends, and God was there too. It didn’t seem extraordinary to consider myself the center of my universe.
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24
I knew that I was baptized and that I believed, so what else did I need to do? I always had a keen sense that cutting corners was not going to work. God demanded more, but I can’t be one of those “Christian people”. How would that affect my life? I can either be normal, and also make room for religion or make religion my whole life. That didn’t seem interesting enough to dedicate my whole life to.
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
But Resurrection means you have to completely die and then rise with an entirely new state. I had supposedly “died” to sin and become new. I started a secular diary and a religious diary. It seemed fair: one for holy things, and one for regular things. It never felt right. How could I have one diary that encompasses all? For that matter, how could I have a double-life? Why couldn’t I just decide to be one or the other?
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
The prayers look different on the outside, but day after day they are seeking the same thing: Reassurance. So where is that reassurance? it’s been here all along.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5