By Kathleen Harwood
When my son, Blake, was in fourth grade, his class studied the Civil War. As part of the unit, the class had to keep a “Civil War Diary.” Every day the students were given a prompt, and then they had to write a sentence or two related to that prompt. For instance, some of the writing starters were: “I think the Civil War could have been avoided by…” and “If I lived on a farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I would…”
Well, one day the prompt was: “As President Abraham Lincoln, I would…”
Blake wrote: “As President Abraham Lincoln, I would be dead right now. But if I were still alive, I would shave my beard and quit my job as President. Instead I would do something cool like play football.”
Blake was presented with the chance, briefly anyway, to step into the shoes of Abraham Lincoln and act like he would act. But because he didn’t really believe he was President Lincoln, he couldn’t imagine being or doing anything differently than he always had the previous nine years.
As believers, we often do the same thing. Only it isn’t pretend.
Every day God gives us, as believers, the opportunity to answer His prompt: “As a new creature in Christ, today I will…”
But when the day is through, how often have we filled in the blank with our old behavior, same struggles, same comfortable patterns of gossip, ambition, depression, fear, discouragement? It’s as if, consciously or unconsciously, we think living as a new creature in Christ is as unlikely as becoming Abraham Lincoln.
We forget that God didn’t just save us from our old sinful selves, so we don’t go to hell. He saved us to be transformed as His image bearers. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us: “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
The truth is we can live as God designed. We are able to act differently, experience a new quality of life, a life of power and purpose, a life of love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and more, because that’s who God has redeemed us to be.
And it all begins by gazing at Him, our perfect, holy Heavenly Father. As we look at who He is, we begin to see who He is transforming us to be as His children. Armed with this truth, we are then ready to live each day, each hour by acting like Him. We can choose trust instead of fear, love instead of hate, forgiveness instead of retaliation, giving instead of grabbing.
Choosing to live God’s way is not an exercise in trying harder to measure up or earn more of God’s favor. Remember, He already saved us. He already gave us a new heart. We are already children of God. As new creatures in Christ, this is how we GET to live. We can choose His perfect, better way. This is now our privilege.
But just like Blake, sometimes it seems impossible. Thankfully, God gave us His Word to instruct and to remind us. Beginning this next week, our online Bible study will focus on this very thing. Using Jen Wilkin’s book In His Image, we will gaze each week at one or two attributes of our God. As we see our God, we discover how we can then reflect that image in our daily lives.
You still time to join us! You’ll need to order a copy of the book or download an electronic version. Read the introduction and first chapter by Thursday, April 16, and make sure you’re part of a small group by emailing Jamie Harms at firstname.lastname@example.org.