“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“I think our language is all wrong.”
This is a quote I recently heard from a non-Nazarene pastor friend from an Evangelical tradition. He went on to say, “We like to use the language of ‘accepting Christ into our lives,’ and we mean well, but this is not the biblical emphasis. The Bible does not talk about fitting Christ into some corner of our lives. Instead, we are called to completely reorder our lives around Jesus and His ways.”
The newness that comes when we are in Christ doesn’t look like simply clearing away a new corner of our busy lives to fit Christ in. Instead, it is a complete housecleaning: ridding ourselves of anything that keeps Jesus from being the main focus and the main transforming agent in our lives.
This is what it means to be a Christian and to grow in grace.
John Wesley saw pride and self-centeredness as the essence of sin. The definition of sin involves turning away from the ways of our Creator and seeking to find our fulfillment and our purpose in anything other than Him. Sin is a desire for immediate self-gratification that moves us toward actions that distract from God’s purposes. It is a desire to please anyone—including ourselves—above pleasing God.
The good news that Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 5 is that being a Christian means being in Christ, or aligning ourselves with Jesus Christ and His ways. When this happens, a great reordering of our priorities occurs. God and God’s ways are no longer some remote or distant dream.
We do not simply add Jesus to our list as one of many priorities. When we are “in Christ,” a “new creation has come,” according to Paul. Our whole being is re-centered. Our priorities are reordered. Walking in the ways of Jesus Christ becomes the most important thing in our lives.
That means that being a Christian is not just about asking Christ into our lives; it is about accepting the invitation of Jesus through His Holy Spirit’s prompting to realign our lives so that He fills our lives to overflowing. This is the new creation. We enter into His abundant life!
This week, perhaps it would be helpful to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in an inventory check—an evaluation of where our priorities lie. Let the reordering begin!
Prayer of the Week:
Gracious God, you invite us to surrender the ways of death and embrace Your ways—the ways that lead to eternal life. We are thankful, and we humbly invite you to re-align our priorities, so that we are fully Yours. Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today