Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
~2 Corinthians 5:17
When our first child was born, it was immediately apparent that we had changed – and I don’t mean just scars and stretch marks. We had become parents. Our whole outlook on life had changed. We no longer lived just for ourselves. Now, we desperately longed to live long enough to see him grow, graduate, get married, have children of his own. We would have to continually recognize and meet his needs, first for diaper changes, later for homework help and spiritual guidance. We would have to rearrange our entire lives around our new status as parents – no more late night parties, no more spur of the moment vacations, much less time with friends, much more emphasis on earning a living to support our growing family. The birth of our child was thrilling, awe-inspiring…and scary, exhausting, humbling and frustrating. Frankly, in those first years as a new parent, I felt like a total failure more often than not. But eventually, with time and practice (as our next child arrived) I came to relax in my persona of parent. It isn’t always a romantic fairy-tale, but I feel pretty good about the job we’ve done, and totally confident that God can take it from where we left off, or fix or heal anything we mess up.
Becoming a Christian is a lot like becoming a parent. In an instant, you become a new creation, and leave behind the old to begin again with the new. And just like parenthood, the walk with Christ is thrilling and awesome…but it can be frustrating, exhausting and scary, too. When I was born again, my life changed just as much as when I became a parent. There were certain shows and movies I just couldn’t stand to watch anymore. There were a few friends I had to give up, just like we gave up the late night parties before. Some things from the old life were simply no longer compatible with the new life. The constant conflict with worldly ways was as frustrating as constantly tending to a child’s needs. But like parenthood, as a Christian it is important to keep looking forward to the future promise. Just as we know our kids will grow up just fine even if we aren’t the perfect parents, we know that ultimately, in Christ, we will reach the goal of Heaven, even if we escape Hell still smelling like smoke. Not that we shouldn’t strive to improve. We should, and God’s grace and the Holy Spirit are always close by to lead us to become more holy. But like parenthood, being a Christian is a life-long process. You don’t stop being a parent when your kids turn 18, and you don’t stop being a Christian when Christmas and Easter pass. Through the good times and bad, you keep going because you must. You can’t turn back, because the old has passed away. You are a new creation! So say goodbye to the caterpillar of your old life and unfold into the beautiful butterfly that is your new life in Christ.