Contemplative Corner – “Becoming a New Creation”

When the New Year begins, we often make resolutions to change our lives in one way or another. We are determined and resolute to achieve a purpose; a choice or action in effort to solve some problem. Often a resolution is a personal determination upon a course of action, method, or procedure to improve ourselves. Many of us have given up making such resolutions because from experience it does not seem that we are ever able to stick to it and our firm resolve falls by the wayside. Why does it seem we can never succeed in improving ourselves? Why do we fear changes? Can we really reinvent ourselves; can we really change? It seems you can change your appearance, location, relationships, but you cannot change how you are on the inside.

Our journey toward change and improvement includes making wrong choices, falling, failing and suffering. We need strength and power to get us through life’s difficult changes. Our journey to real change includes choosing a path. If we choose to walk the path of Christ, we choose a way that embraces truth, wisdom, and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us keep our commitment.

What does the Bible say about making changes in our lives?

In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul says,” If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation: everything has become new!” Scripture continues to encourage us to no longer live alienated from God, but to put away our former corrupted and deluded way of life, to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to clothe ourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Well, this sounds like an even more difficult resolution, except we do not have to rely on our own selves to make it happen. Christians are transformed by renewing their minds. Paul puts it this way,” Brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, present you bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:1-2)

The gospel gives hope despite the tragic nature of our human existence with all its contradictions and instability. We find it hard to see the way forward to a reality that includes the truth that set us free to find our true self. God will lead us through the year ahead despite our choices and resolutions. God’s way, though difficult, is the way to life.

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me…
Even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.

Psalm 139:5,10