Updated: Sep 6, 2019
“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
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be
called children of God; and so we are.”
1 John 3:1
Our God can use a person’s warped, disingenuous, even selfish intentions to bring a wayward child into His kingdom. I’m proof of this! He took my defiant, stubborn sin nature and transformed me into a new creation with my new identity…God’s child.
By general standards, I was a pretty “good” kid growing up. I didn’t have any major train wrecks in my childhood and teen years; I made good grades and attended church weekly. However, I wasn’t very connected within my church, and in spite of years of faithful church attendance, the Gospel didn’t penetrate my heart or become reality to me. I simply had no spiritual life.
When I was 16 years old, I started dating Justin. He also was a weekly church attender, but there were so many things that were different about him that I didn’t understand. When we had free time in our school classes, he read his Bible. He attended weekly Bible study after school and frequently asked me to join him. “Why in the world would I want to spend my time doing something like that?!” would go through my head every time he asked. I had no value for the word of God, and I couldn’t imagine how a Bible study would be good use of my time. So my answer to weekly Bible study was always no…until the week came when he stopped asking me.
I asked him one day, “Why don’t you ever ask me to Bible study anymore?”
“Melissa, you never want to go,” was Justin’s quiet response.
I can’t explain exactly what I felt in that moment, but for some reason that answer stirred up the defiant nature that I’ve had since, well, birth. Call it spite, stubbornness, or some other sinful quality, but I didn’t like his answer and from that point I made it my mission to attend Bible study and prove him wrong.
I didn’t know what to expect at Bible study. I had no knowledge of God’s Word, and I had many negative preconceptions about what the people there would be like. Over time, God opened my eyes to so many things. I realized that the people there were nothing like I expected; they were genuinely kind and had a depth to their lives that I certainly did not. And they talked so much about Jesus dying on the cross so that we may have eternal life. I knew Jesus died on the cross, but I had no idea what that meant for me personally.
God continued to work on my heart for a period of several months. The summer after I graduated from high school, the pieces finally came together. For the first time, I fully grasped how truly sinful I was and what awaited me in eternity apart from Christ Jesus. All of the Bible lessons, and the frequent references to the fact that Jesus died on a cross in an incredibly loving, personal way finally penetrated my heart and became a reality to me.
My original motivation for attending Bible study may not have been pure or sweet, but God took it and used it in the most transforming way imaginable. The first Bible verse I ever memorized was 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” I’m not a new creation based on how I did (or didn’t) approach God originally; I’m a new creation based on who Jesus is. I’m His child.
Actions for the Day:
Day 1 Action:
Do you see yourself the same way God sees you? How do you see yourself? (Good enough, not good enough, acceptable to God, not acceptable to God, etc). Please share with others your answer if you feel comfortable doing so?
Day 2 Action: Do you know how God sees you?
Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV) For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
2 Corinthians 6:18 (ESV) And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Do you realize that God did love you and still loves you SO MUCH that He give His Son Jesus for you? He gave Him up so that your sin would be forgiven.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Share with us how knowing God loves YOU unconditionally impacts you?
Day 3 Action: Where will you spend eternity? Please share on the blog your answer and why you think this. Also share some of the obstacles that may keep you from believing God’s Word regarding salvation.