There is nothing like something new: a new car, a new computer, a new house, a new job. When we receive something new to us there is an initial sense of excitement and happiness. We often love to tell others about what we have received and we want to share it with them. However, over time the newness begins to wear off and that which was once new becomes familiar. We may still enjoy it, but that initial excitement has subsided.
This is often true of our Christian lives. The initial moment of salvation can be very exciting. Something has changed within us. We feel and sense God’s presence in our lives. We have an assurance that we have been redeemed and belong to God. We know that our life has taken a new direction. We know we have a new and eternal purpose.
In the first weeks and months after our salvation everything seems different. We have a new perspective on life. Our attitudes and desires have changed. We attempt to live faithfully for our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Then reality slowly sets it. Many things in our life stay the same. Our relationships don’t really change. Our struggles in life don’t go away. We still experience pain and sorrow. We find that we still struggle with some of the same sins and temptations.
This often leads to feelings of doubt. Because of the presence of sin in the world around us and in our own lives, we begin to become discouraged and lose heart. We can become apathetic and indifferent about life and the work of the ministry. Maybe we even become bored with our Christian lives.
We may go through the motions of the Christian life (attending church, doing good things for others, being faithful to our family, and giving) but without any real change. Life can become just a series of daily routines and weekend rituals.
When I read the New Testament I find that Jesus came to give us more than just a religious experience or a weekend obligation. In fact, Jesus never said he came to start a new religion. Jesus came to give new life and a new way of relating to God. Jesus came to offer the free gift of eternal life through faith in his finished work. He came to make us children of God. He came to give us purpose and direction for the rest of our lives on this planet.
Jesus came to change and transform us into men and women who reflect his love and grace to the world. He came to redeem what was lost at the fall of mankind and to restore people to a place of ministry in the Kingdom of God. The life Jesus came to give was not intended to be dry, dull and boring.
What we often need in order to experience the real Christian life is renewal. Romans 12:1-2 speaks of the renewing of the mind. This is not necessarily a one-time spiritual experience. This is talking about a regular, continual renewal of our thoughts and attitudes. This renewal comes as we better understand God through the revelation in His Word. Renewal of the heart and mind then leads to a change in our outward behavior.
Renewal also comes through the work of the Holy Spirit in our heart and soul. We are new creations in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of the New Covenant that was promised in the Old Testament and initiated through the death and shed blood of Jesus. Jesus freed us from the Old Testament Law and set us on a new path of life lived through the Spirit.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill our lives, He begins to produce the works of God in our lives. The Holy Spirit compels us to relate to God as our Father in heaven. The Holy Spirit compels and empowers us to live a holy life for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Where are you in your walk with Christ? Do you live with a sense of purpose or are you just existing day to day? Do you serve out of a heart of love for Jesus or out of a religious obligation? Is the Holy Spirit alive and moving in your heart and life or do you rarely sense the presence of the Holy Spirit? Are you looking forward to what God is going to do in your life or just looking forward to dinner?
If your Christian life lacks enthusiasm, I would like to encourage you to seek the Lord daily for renewal in your own life through His word and His Spirit. Ask the Lord for a renewed sense of purpose in your Christian life. Ask Him to restore the joy of your salvation.
I would also like to challenge you to ask the Lord for a renewal of the church in America. Ask the Lord to give His church a renewed sense of purpose and direction. Ask the Lord to renew our hearts to desire the things He is passionate about. Ask the Lord to use His Church to impact this community for His Kingdom and His glory.
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James Seal, Pastor