“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You are supposed to become a new person! This is God’s desire for you, that you are no longer sin dominated or self-oriented. And this is the expectation of being a Christian. We are a new creation; the old things pass away. The idea of dying to the self is handing over the bad habits: those old ways of thinking, behaving, worrying, doing relationships. The old self should have no hold over us. Dying to Christ means we can now overcome the sin that derails our lives.

People argue, God has given us a mind and expects us to use it. However, that mind has been tainted by sin, so dependency upon God is necessary. When we try to do life on our own, we get lost. What is the purpose of wealth if you do not know how to spend it? What is the value of power if you don’t know how to exercise it? What’s the use of having a position of influence if you don’t know how to use it? Too many believe if they only had power, wealth, influence, they’d be happy. And so they struggle and strain to gain those things.

Many today assume Jesus is dead, that He never rose from the grave or ascended into heaven. They do not believe He is alive, far less has the ability to help us in our world today. Today’s atheist doesn’t understand what Christianity is all about: the presence of Christ’s living Spirit within us. It’s not rules and restrictions to control the sinful nature; it’s the love of Christ that controls us. It is only when you surrender and say, “Okay, I’ll forgive other people, help the poor, rearrange the trajectory of my life so Jesus is the center of it,” does Christianity become alive in you.

Adapted from “The New You” by Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis