The Old Has Gone; The New Has Come!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Very few of us have pristine pasts. We’re human and most of us engaged in worldly pursuits prior to dedicating ourselves to God. Because of our pasts, it can very difficult for others to accept this change, especially if we didn’t just attend the party but were the party.
I have an unusual last name. Once, at the DMV, the clerk reviewing my paperwork asked if I was related to someone she knew in college who had the same last name. When I confirmed I was, she threw her head back and exclaimed, “The Wild Man!" That was his nickname in college, she said, due to his outrageous antics. She chuckled a bit as she reminisced over his early shenanigans, then asked, “What is he doing, now?”
“He’s a preacher,” I answered.
“No!” she replied wide-eyed.
“Yes,” I said.
She stared at me for a few more moments waiting for me to deliver a “Gotcha!” that was not to come. I watched as her expression changed from disbelief to thoughtful consideration. Finally, she said, “That’s good.”
Whether or not she actually thought it was good is something only she and God know for sure. However, it did draw attention to the fact that our pasts travel with us. And there is never a lack of those who will be ready to remind us of them. Our family, friends and acquaintances may have the most difficult time accepting the change in us now that we have dedicated ourselves to Christ. That is because the change is internal. Our bodies have not changed, but our perspectives have. We no longer live to please ourselves; our desire is for the Lord. We tend to look at things from a spiritual point of view rather than a worldly point of view. These tendencies are the direct opposite of many and some, quite simply, cannot handle it.
The cost of following Jesus is high. We may lose friendships and popularity as Matthew 8:18-20 illustrates: “When Jesus saw the crowd around Him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to Him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.’”
It is difficult to lose the favor of loved ones who are not yet ready to make the same commitment. Stay the course. Stay in prayer. Stay focused. Although the cost of following Jesus is high, the reward is even higher: Eternity with our Lord and Savior.