Almost every day of my life, I do things that make me dissatisfied in myself. I yell at my kids. I get impatient when I am driving around slow drivers, when I'm waiting in line at Chipotle, when I can't do all of the things I need to in a day... the list is pretty long.
If we are being honest, most of us struggle to be the people we know that we should be.
And what we tend to hear most of the time from other Christians is that we can get it all together, we can overcome our feelings of inadequacy by reading that next Christian self-help book about 13 ways to be a better parent/wife/husband/child/church member/American... or going to church more often, being more religious, trying harder, keeping more rules...
But as Craig Groeschel writes: Religious behavior can make you nice, but it won't make you new.
As Christians, we say we believe that following Jesus makes you new. You can be a new creation. Like the Apostle Paul said, "the old has gone, the new has come."
But what does that even mean? Do we really stop to think about it? And do we really believe it--I mean deep down inside?
Paul wrote further about this in his letter to the church at Corinth:
"… at one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"
The "one" time that Paul is referring to is a place in the past before the resurrection. Nothing about that time matters--except to contrast with now. Now, Paul says, we experience the Risen Jesus. The resurrection changed everything.
So what does this mean for you and me?
It means that God doesn't hold our past against us, and neither should we.
It also means that because of Jesus, we have the choice to live differently. Because we aren't defined by our past, we can look to the future with incredible hope.
May you live into the hope of this Resurrection future---a future not defined by what you've done or who you've been. And may this hope fill you with the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.