Once New, Always New

A few weeks ago, we received a wonderful phone call. Our daughter called and told us our oldest granddaughter, Harlee, came to the living room that morning and was emotional and feeling sad. After some snuggle time on the couch, our granddaughter looked at her mom with eyes bright with tears and said, “I need to ask Jesus into my heart.” After a discussion with her mom and dad, Harlee bowed her head and prayed. She confessed herself as a sinner and believed Jesus died on the cross for her sins. She told Him she wanted Him to be Lord of her life. She was quite emotional through the prayer, but at the end, she raised her head and with a big smile on her face said, “I feel like a new person!”

words + photographs LISA BERG

Ah, Baby Girl, you are a new person. The Bible says in 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 began to think about the word “new.” When we think of something as new, it is in that state for a very short time. When I buy a new sweater, how long is it considered new?

Let’s be honest, often after those first couple of washings, it becomes one of our old sweaters. We say things like “new car smell” or “new love.” Each of those things are at their best in that brief moment, but then they begin to fade. “New” has a very short lifespan because any new thing we acquire immediately starts its journey toward not new or, dare I say, old.  It will never again be the perfect and flawless thing it was when it was new.

The new creation in Christ is always good and keeps getting better.

But God looks at new in a different way. In John 3:3, to be a new person is to be “born again.” God likely referenced birth because we understand the newness of it. Birth is a new creation; something that did not exist before. God didn’t take the old Harlee, or the old me, and try to improve upon her. He created a new creature, a new spirit.

Unlike worldly new things, a new creation, or new person, formed in the mind of God and created by His power and for His glory cannot be at its best only in the beginning before descending to a faded resemblance of what it once was. The new creation in Christ is always good and keeps getting better.

I am likely not alone when I say there are times I do not feel new. I no longer feel shiny. I can feel dull. I can feel tattered, torn, and dented. But being a new person is not dependent on how I feel about myself. It is about who I really am in Christ. The life of being a Christian is a long process of gradual change and growth in Christ. I have heard that becoming a Christian is like buying a new house; there will always be work to be done on the house to keep improving it.

“When I held her, I felt double the love: All the love I have for her mother wrapped up in another perfect bundle,” says Lisa Berg about holding her oldest granddaughter for the first time. “I remember the love I had for Harlee was overwhelming, but I prayed she will always know God loves her even more than I do.”

One of Satan’s great lies to me (and maybe you too) is I am messing up and going back to who I used to be. That is IMPOSSIBLE. There is no old me. I walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4). I may still sin, but I no longer am a slave to sin.

When we first accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have that feeling of a new person, like Harlee did. We are filled with glorious newness: new feelings, new hope, new love, new compassion and new desires. Over time, we may feel like these things fade, but they do not. Those things are still in us and just as bright as ever. Read Ephesians 4:22-24 and hear the truth Jesus speaks:

“… to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Renew the spirit of your mind. Let the Holy Spirit show you again who you are: a new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Yes, Harlee, you ARE a new person. And yes, My Friend, when you accept the saving grace of Jesus Christ, you are a new creature, a new creation. You will never again be who you used to be. You now have a lifetime of becoming who God says you are. Let’s follow that childlike faith Harlee showed us. Each morning when we get out of bed, we can take a deep breath, smile big and say, “I feel like a new person!”  Because once you are new, you are always new. LB

Lisa Berg was born and raised in the Ozark/Springfield area. Until recently, she and her husband, Sam, resided in Haiti. While waiting to reevaluate their return to the country, the couple is serving the Haitian community in the Bahamas, where Hurricane Dorian destroyed the town Haitians called home two years ago. Lisa and Sam have four adult children, two of whom are married, and five grandkids. To learn more about who they meet and what they do in the Bahamas, follow the Bergs on Facebook.

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