Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Once ... Always?

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ; he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Once a liar, always a liar. Once a bitter person, always a bitter person. Once a failure, always a failure. Once impure, always impure. Once a bad mom, always a bad mom. Once a person living in fear, always a person living in fear. "Once a ____, always a ____."
What did you fill in the blank with? Do you have anything from your past that still defines you? I have good news for you. You can stop living like this today.
Who is Jesus to you? That is a question we all need to answer. Jesus' disciples were asked this in Matthew 16:15. "Then Jesus asked them, 'But who do you say I am?'" (CEV). Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God" (v.16). How would you answer Jesus' question?
So many of us know and believe Jesus is indeed the Son of the living God, but what does that mean to us in terms of our identity? The Bible tells us in John 3:16-18 that God loved us so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but live forever in eternity. "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned." (CEV)
Did you notice that last part? Jesus did not die for our sins so that we would live under condemnation of them. Nor did He die so we would forever be labeled and falsely identified by our sins. He died so we would be set free from our sins and their shame, labels, and condemnation. Don't believe anyone who tells you different. Know who Jesus, your Savior from sin, is and rest in that truth.
Maya Angelo said, "When people show you who they are, believe them...the first time." I will have to disregard Ms. Angelo's statement. "Once a ___, does not make me (or you) always a ____." Why? Because of who Jesus is in us. Our God is not only a God of second chances, He is a God of infinite chances, forgiveness and grace.
We can't change what people think about us. Sure, we can try to explain how we've changed, but often others will define us by one or more sins we've committed in the past. It's happened to me before. Even though I may have once earned the "Once/Always" names I was called, I know that's not who I truly am. Our identity is NOT in what we did, but in who and Whose we ARE.
"Once a ___, always a ___"? No ma'am, that is not true in the context of Christ! In Christ, you are washed clean. Look again at our key verse, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the old has gone, the new has come." The old has gone. Gone. Gone. It's gone! Answer the question Jesus asks, "Who do you say I am?" And believe the answer that He is your Savior from condemnation. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus. No person or past action can take that from you because, "Once a beloved child of God, always a beloved child of God." That is the truth!
Dear Lord, I pray today that You will remind me that I am precious and washed clean in Your sight. The shed blood of Jesus on the cross is proof that I am no longer captive to what I've done or who people say I am. I am Yours! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Melissa Taylor
Proverbs 31 Minitries - Encouragement for Today

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