“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, you are a new creation; the old is gone, the new has begun” (2 Cor 5:17). As westerners, maybe all humans, we are challenged in living from a new place. Our tendency is to tack on new understanding to our old thinking, rather than living from the new paradigm. When we tack on, we create a bunch of tension in our lives, acting out of a wrong place and then being mad at ourselves for doing it. It’s like a phrase I heard once, we know enough about the gospel to be saved, but not enough to get life from it. This may be why Christians are often portrayed so cranky all the time… because well, they are. Probably should say “we.” ;)
The apostle Paul wrestled with this same thing: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) So many of us stop in this place, in the wrestling match. Yes, you are saved, but what Jesus paid for was a “rich and satisfying life.” So what do we do? Paul actually gives us a great process in his letter to the Romans.
Romans 6: Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. Mediate on this truth.
Romans 7: Be real. The battle is for your mind, your belief system. Know that your mind is being renewed to your new reality. The enemy will continue to try and put you under the old. We acknowledge the tension, but we rest in the truth. Don’t let yourself stay in Romans 7, in the wrestling match. Jesus didn’t let Paul stay there.
Romans 8: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”(Romans 8:1-2)
It doesn’t get better than that. Mistakes happen. It’s not to belittle the consequence of a mistake. Some are really bad, I admit. However, the cross changes everything. Changing your mind (repentance) is as simple as, “I’m sorry Jesus, that is not who I am anymore. Thank you that you have made me a new creation. Help me live from that reality.” We must stop condemning ourselves for hours and days. Do you follow Jesus? Comdemnation-free.
We also have to realize this whole process is relational. Paul came to this place out of relationship with Jesus. My prayer for myself and others is that we can stop the wrestling match and show the world the good news through our lives. It’s not living in denial, it’s living out of faith in what Jesus has really done for us. Believe. Jesus can and will bring you to this place. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)