There’s nothing like a new start in life, no matter how you come by it. Some people change their career to get a fresh start. Others may reevaluate their relationships. It doesn’t hurt to have a rich uncle.
People want a fresh start because they made the wrong choices in life. Maybe they just got tired of how their life is going so far. Whatever the reason may be, many people wish their lives could be different, or that they would have chosen a different path.
When Jesus changes our lives, he makes us new creatures in him (2 Corinthians 5:17). The moment we turn to him and follow him, he begins an instant change that carries through as we grow closer to him.
But many Christians are never taught or given an explanation of what Jesus changes and how he changes it. As we continue to discuss holiness, we realize Jesus changes almost everything about us.
Some people may be offended by the idea that we change gods when we become Christians, but it’s true. Go the whole way back to the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they chose to believe that they could become like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5).
We fashioned ourselves before we met Christ as our own gods. What we say goes in our lives, and our own selfish reasons and ambitions drive everything we do. More than this, sometimes those selfish ambitions are influenced or controlled by false gods and evil spiritual forces.
There’s a whole lot of scripture about our darkened hearts and minds before we know Christ. Scripture teaches Jesus changes our very nature, that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ when we commit to him (Romans 6:1-4; Ephesians 2:1-3).
When we become Christians, and as we grow in Christ, we learn to ignore temptation and the fleshly desires from our former life. And that is how Scripture describes it, the old self or the old life. The old gods we used to listen to, from ourselves to other gods, we no longer pay attention to.
We no longer listen to what the world thinks. It is opposed to God, our new Lord. Through growing in our relationship with Jesus, we are learning to listen to his voice (John 10). We realize there is a spiritual battle and we are no longer Satan’s pawns. We don’t trust anything those former voices say to us.
The old self has been put away. We no longer think, act, speak, or live that way. Our new Lord Jesus has attracted us to him and his kingdom. He has made us great in his kingdom through our service to him.
After we have seen how far his love goes, to a sacrificial death on the cross all for us, taking our place in God’s judgment against us, our gratitude and love for him know no bounds. We gladly turn away from our selfish desires to serve the living God.
Even atheists realize God is greater than themselves. It’s not a question of who is Lord. It’s a question of who they will honor as Lord. Before we meet Jesus and bow to his kingship in our lives, we rather choose to believe the lie Adam and Eve believed. We think we are our own masters.
But when we meet Jesus, we learn we were only deceiving ourselves. As Jesus says, God takes care of every need we have (Matthew 6:30-32). We can’t add hair to our head or years to our life. Everyone wants to think they’re in control of everything in their lives, even after they become Christians. But this is only a smokescreen we allow ourselves to believe.
When we used to look to ourselves and do everything that pleased us, we now know Jesus has replaced these selfish desires with godly ones. He is teaching us the value of his kingdom and presence.
Our longing has changed. We now want to serve God. We bow before him and do what he wants us to do. We seek his kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). Seeking to live a righteous life, not to look good in ourselves, but to honor God and be a witness for him, our desire is to put a smile on his face.
So in making us new creatures, he has given us new desires. We worship him instead of ourselves. We listen to him and his moral standards instead of creating our own. We want to please God instead of ourselves.
This doesn’t mean we don’t still have a battle on our hands with our flesh and what it still longs to do. But the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence gives us power to crucify the flesh to serve God.
Jesus changes our priorities in life. Every perspective we used to have is different as a Christian. We set different goals. We understand different realities. Instead of thinking about today and immediate gratification, we set long-term goals for eternity.
We don’t serve ourselves. We serve Jesus. We work for the good of others and share Jesus’ love with them. We witness about Jesus and how he can change the heart and spirit of a person. Our work ethic changes as we live to please Jesus in everything.
We can only take people with us to heaven. We are not concerned with chasing after wealth. Money serves God’s kingdom when it can be used for evangelism. We don’t hoard wealth or possessions. We share with others who are in need.
The New Testament letters are full of descriptions how Christians act differently than the world. We are God’s representatives on earth. We show others what it means to be loved by God and blessed by him.
When we become Christians, we change from death to life, from darkness to light. Instead of serving the devil in his kingdom we become citizens of heaven, part of God’s kingdom. His kingdom isn’t of this world. We serve a higher and greater purpose for Jesus.
As we work in God’s kingdom, we learn to become servants first. God’s kingdom character and values are opposite of the world’s. We are his representatives and we witness to others his power and grace.
People in the world don’t understand God’s unconditional love. When we show them, they are surprised. They expect to give something to get his love from us. We share Jesus with them as we compassionately serve them.
God’s kingdom is unlike the kingdoms, nations, and empires of this world. He aims to change the world one person at a time. As we witness to each person, Jesus becomes Lord of their heart. The world doesn’t know anything about the Holy Spirit. But when they join us as kingdom members, the Holy Spirit dwells inside of them. He changes them until they are holy like Jesus.
As citizens of Jesus’ kingdom we fight spiritual battles instead of with other people (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus gives us the authority to cast out demons. He sets people free as he ministers through us.
God’s kingdom is countercultural. Everything we used to know has been switched around. God does things completely different. As we walk with him, we change the world one person at a time.
When we come to Jesus, he becomes our Lord. He sovereignly transforms us into his people, a holy and blameless people. We work for him as part of his kingdom and we enjoy fellowship with him as his sons and daughters.
He becomes our God and sets us on a path toward a great inheritance, eternal life in his presence. He changes us to glorify him in everything we do. He does amazing things in our lives that we don’t realize when we meet for the first time. Leave a comment and share some of your experiences since you became a Christian.