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As we begin 2014, there are all sorts of commercials for diets, clothing styles, and more designed to bring out the “new you this New Year!” Seeing some of these things got me thinking, “Is there a way people can really become new?” Obviously, changing your style, diet, or activity level does not make a changes to your actual identity. You will still be the same person, even if you change the words on your birth certificate.
Well, in the Bible there is a verse that addresses our spiritual “identity crisis”. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” So, somehow we become a new creation in Christ Jesus. The problem is that most of humanity does not see their need to be made new. They see no need to become a new person- New Year’s or not. In speaking to some people, many have responded to the Gospel with “Christianity is a crutch, and those who believe in it are weak.”

Well, last summer, I was trying to be daring in my wheelchair. I tried to jump a curb, and mistimed the jump, quickly snapping my front wheel clean off, and ending up on the patio. If someone had come up and offered me a new $4000 wheelchair, what would you say to me if I said, “Are you kidding? You’re trying to give me a wheelchair?! That means admitting I can’t walk on my own! I’d never stop so low!” I hope you would show me my arrogance and foolishness! But that is what we do when we think we are “too good” to accept the only means to become a new person.
The Bible says we are “dead in our trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:5) . DEAD. However, Christ, “The Great Physician” is able to make us alive again.

But How?

In Ezekiel 36, there is a verse that says, “I [God] will give you a new heart…I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and will give you a heart of flesh.”
No matter what you do to a rock, it will have no response, and will not do what you want it to. As babies, we learn “NO!” very quickly, and as we grow, we come up with increasingly “creative” ways to get out of doing what we know we ought to do. We need that “heart of flesh”, and we get that through what Paul told the Philippian jailer- “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) Remember, the belief is not enough on its own, though. If I believed…REALLY believedthe food in the cafeteria was contaminated, I would actually stop eating my own plateful and keep others from eating it as well, even to the point of making a loud announcement and being an annoyance. If you believe that Christ can give you a new heart, that belief must be joined with turning from the lifestyle your old self used to be involved in. Don’t let another year go by without praying for a New You!

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