Identity: You Are New

(This post was originally written for www.hopemommies.org)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
-2 Corinthians 5:17

As mothers who have walked through the death of a child, it is easy to define ourselves by our losses — to feel unworthy, damaged, incomplete.  But, dear one, this is not the sum of who you are.  In Christ you have been made new!  You have become a new creation! 

“And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”
-Romans 6:4b

This reality of being made new in Christ is achieved upon salvation.

You were once blind to spiritual things, but God mercifully opened you eyes to see Christ.
You were once rebellious and proud, but God drew you to Himself in beautiful surrender.
You were once in utter darkness, but God shone His light in your heart.
You once felt no sorrow over your sin, but God graciously granted you repentance. 

You have been made new!

But being made new comes with responsibility. If we take a look at the verses preceding 2 Corinthians 5:17, we see that this involves an entire lifestyle change.

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.”
-2 Corinthians 5:14-15

When we are made new through salvation in Jesus Christ, His love compels us to stop living for ourselves.  We are called to put off our old selves with all of its tendencies and responses, and live instead for the glory of the Lord!

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
-Ephesians 4:22-24

This “old self” is the sum of the perspectives, emotions, and practices that you were characterized by before you were called out of darkness and redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  It is the sinful patterns that you fell into, the selfish choices you made, the times you gave anything and everything a place of greater honor than God.  But, because you have been made new, sin no longer holds any power over you (Romans 6:14), and you have been given a new set of perspectives, emotions, and practices that have been created after the very likeness of God!

Colossians 3 gives us a bigger picture of this putting off and putting on:

“In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
-Colossians 3:7-10, 12-14

What aspects of your “old self” are you hanging on to?

Do you find yourself angry and bitter with family and friends who have seemed to have forgotten your precious baby?
Are you living in fear of the future, unable to trust in God’s goodness and provision?
Are you envious of the women around you whose arms are full, while your own empty arms are aching to hold your baby who went home before you?
Have you been unable to rejoice in the joys of others’ because you cannot see past your own overwhelming sorrow?

NEWThese things, precious momma, belong to your old self.  And as hard as it may seem to let them go and put them off, you are no longer defined by them.  Christ has freed you from this!  You have been given a new identity in Him.  He has made you new!

You have been offered a great exchange:

His death on the cross in pace of your deserved punishment
His compassion and patience in place of your anger and bitterness
His peace in place of your fear
His contentment in place of your envy

This exchange does not always come easy.  Your flesh is always fighting to overpower His righteousness in your life.  But press on.  Commit to choosing day by day to put off your anger, fear, and envy.  He has graciously shown you a better way to live, and equipped you with everything you need to put that all away.

The key to choosing the new self over the old is found in each of these passages:

“being renewed in knowledge after the image of [the] Creator.”
-Colossians 3:10

“be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
-Ephesians 4:23

Dear one, we must renew our minds!  The answer to putting off our old selves — to ridding ourselves of all anger, bitterness, envy, and fear — is to continually fill our minds with the truth of eternity!

Colossians 3:1-3 says , “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

In Ephesians 3:18–19 Paul prayed that we “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Why?

Because when our minds are filled with and focused on the love of Christ and the fullness of God, we are renewed.  And this renewal frees us from the sinful tendencies of our flesh.  When our minds are fixed on Christ, we are able to put on our new self — we are able to bear the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.   

When you are tempted to fall again into anger, bitterness, jealousy, or fear, remember that this is not who you are anymore. Your identity is no longer tied to these things.  Sin no longer has any hold over you.

Christ has made you a new creation.

You are new.

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