17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!
I got a new pair of boots for Christmas. This was kind of a big deal, because during the fall/winter/spring seasons, boots are pretty much all I wear. I loved my old boots, but honestly, they were past due for replacement. They looked terrible. And even though I could never find a hole in the sole, every time it rained or snowed, somehow my right foot got wet. I still loved them, but they were far from ideal.
My new ones (thanks, Kate!) are beautiful. They look really good. They’re even pretty comfortable (though the ankles are still stiff). But I know that it will probably take wearing them every day for a month or so before I stop thinking of them as “my new boots” and they just become “my boots.”
Though it was a bit painful to do it, after I tried the new ones on, I took the old pair and threw them in the trash. I considered keeping my well-loved boots, but then I remembered my wet right foot and thought: “It’s just not worth it.” But I will confess: I hesitated.
Paul talks about the process of conversion as a kind of “out with the old, in with the new” process – instantaneous and immediate. I don’t doubt it can work that way. But I also know that I’ve seldom embraced change in quite that way. God’s work of transformation in my life sometimes looks more like me trying to hold on to an old pair of shoes that I know are worn out. Instead, I’ll try to change gradually – flipping back and forth between the old and the new.
That feels like a more comfortable, less difficult way to change. But in reality, it just prolongs the process and keeps you wearing shoes that you know aren’t good anymore.
My new boots aren’t quite as comfortable as I know they will be in a few weeks. Sometimes, I wish I had kept the old ones to make the transition a little easier. But had I held on to the old pair, all I would have been doing is prolonging the break-in period.
If we want to embrace the change God is trying to work in us, then it’s important that we commit to Paul’s approach -which is not really his but Christ’s: “The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!”
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Where have you tried to embrace change by degree rather than all at once? How has that worked? Do you hear God calling you to consider a different approach?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we know that you seek to transform us from the inside out. Help us to trust that your process of change is the best. Today, let us embrace your wisdom of “out with the old, in with the new.” Amen.