Tag Archive | new creation

Our Ultimate Goal

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

“Karin, you really like your father!” Many people around me always said like that. Yes I have to admit it. I have many likenesses with my father. The way we talk, our mindset, the way we handle problems, and many more likenesses. Still remembered until now, when I was a kid, if anyone asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Confidently and firmly I replied, “I want to be like my daddy” I really idolized my father. From him I have learned so many precious things. He taught me about the meaning of life, he taught me about humanity, from him I learned about true love, How to sincerely love one another, he also taught me about how to have empathy to others, and many other important lessons to live this life.

Talk about father, as Christians, beside worldly father, we have good and loving Father in Heaven. My dear friends, I have a question. As Christians and Father’s child, what is our goal?! I strongly believe all of us have personal goals to be achieved. We have big dreams to be reached. We want to be succeeding in career regardless of what we become. We want to be rich, maybe we want to be famous and honorable; we want our live always run smoothly, have problem-free life, and other worldly things. All of that isn’t wrong and indeed we must have goals and have dreams in our lives. But you know, as Christians, we actually have another important goal and it will become our ultimate goal. Let’s take a look to the Bible verse at the first paragraph of this post to get the answer. Let’s focus to:” …He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” From these words we clearly know what our ultimate goal as Father’s child is. Our ultimate goal is to become Christ-like.  Actually, the message about this thing already stated from the beginning in the first book of Genesis. God said:

 “Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26-27)

 We’re Different with another God’s creation, we’re created very special. We were created in the image and likeness of God. Not physically but in character. It is very important to be implanted in our heart. Paul stresses the importance of living like Christ and describes his longing to see the fulfillment of this ultimate goal could be happen. He said, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,” (Galatian 4:19) in other word, That Paul willing to suffer again, like a suffering mother in childbirth so that Christ’s image is completely and permanently formed or molded in us.

What and how God’s characteristic is?  Actually it’s easy to know and understand God’s character. God has given the way to know His character through Jesus Christ who came to this world.  Generally, Christ – likeness encompasses two aspects, namely: First: the mind, attitude, and Christ’s heart. And the second thing is Christ’s character/ Integrity.  Easy to know but it turns out isn’t easy to apply in our lives.  Honestly, I have many times met Christians but they exactly don’t reflect the character of Christ. Instead they more reflect the worldly characters. For example, by chance I involved in the business world and really know how cruel the business world. I found so many sly businessmen. They can do anything just for the sake of their own business. They could run their business with dirty way, They compete unfairly, they in a sneaky way can  turn off the business of others that runs the same business with them, and you know, I got a sad fact that not a few of them are Christians. They assume that Christianity and business world are two very different things that cannot be mixed. They argue that Christian doctrines aren’t related with business rules. Business will be difficult to grow if always stick to the Christianity.  Once again I remember when for the first time I started to take over my parents’ businesses, my mom and dad give me myriad of advices and it all based on Christian doctrines. This proves that the Bible also deals with issues of how to run a business based on Christian teachings.

Another fact, I met many Christians that look like have “split personality”. In one particular situation and time their attitudes reflect Christ’s character. They seem like “A holy man” in the Church but in the other place and situation (out of the church), they changed and have completely contradictory attitudes. They didn’t have DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) they are totally normal but they can easily set up their attitudes as needed. I call them as hypocrite. Another Sadder fact, the attitudes that didn’t reflect Christ’s character instead occurred in the church environment. Some time ago, one of my church friends in Singapore told me that just because there was dissent in some of the church assemblies, conflict occurred and they blaspheme and lash out each other and eventually they are hostile to each other. The examples and facts above are proofs that not necessarily people who claim as Christian could automatically reflect characters like Christ. I apologize to have conclusion that it’s not definite guarantee people who have been baptized and busy with church ministry automatically will completely reflect Christ’s character.  My father once said, “Don’t ever claim as Christian and already live in Christ if we aren’t reflecting His image. Once we claim we are Christian and live in Him, we have to always could reflect the form of His image” Then my father gave a simple example a glass and water. When the water gets into the glass, the water will follow the form of the glass. It’s impossible we pour water into the glass and the form of the water like a bowl. The water will always follow the shape of the vessel where it is poured. It means, when we say that we are living in God; we are obliged to follow the lead of Christ. We have to do something as exemplified by Jesus himself. About this thing John also affirms:

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)

My beloved readers, this evening I want to ask all of us to seriously take time for a moment. Let’s think, ponder, and make an evaluation. How our spiritual life as Christians right now?  If we claim to be Christians and live in Christ, have we already reflect two aspects of Christ’s character through our behavior, deeds and lifestyles? Have we succeeded in getting people around us say: “Oh, their deed and behavior are truly reflecting the figure of Christ” Or even otherwise we are simply becoming a stumbling block to others? Let’s examine ourselves whether each thing we think is already in line with Christ’s character. Let’s evaluate again the way we think, the way we behave, our temperament, attitudes, character, integrity, and we have to make sure that it all still leads to the Christ. Do we already have a solid and genuine Christian character or we as if have “Split personality” that could be changed any time as needed and then people around us will labeling us as hypocrites.

Personally I have to admit it’s not easy to become Christ-like. Not infrequently I have to experience a struggle when I try to always reflect the character of Christ in my personal life.  As long as we live in this world, it’s not easy to always reflect Christ’s character because there are many things in this world are opposed with the Christian teachings. That’s true but isn’t an impossible thing to do and we have to remember one important thing that if anyone in Christ, the new creation has come the old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17) As a new creation, we have to put off our old behavior and habits and day by day we should continue to experience renewal and increasingly get an Image of Christ and we continue to proceed to become Christ-like.

… you have put off the old man with his deeds,  and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. (Colossians 3:9-10)

And we also have been granted with the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, teach, help, and remind us of everything God has said to us:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26)

 Let’s always longing to live in God, really love Him, and always live in His words, faithful and obedient to His teaching, and fear to God. God will give us strength and ability to continue to live in accordance with His will. God’s word said:

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Don’t be affected by worldly temptations, stay focused on the process of reaching our ultimate goal. Stay focused to Jesus Christ as our role model and let Jesus mold and process us according to His will and also let Him eroding and destroying our old unpleasant character until finally our ultimate goal become Christ-like will be achieved. Amen

Karina Lam – Living by faith

Image source: thePreacersWord

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The Whole New Creation

The Whole New Creation-Karina's Thought

 

Few days ago when I was gardening, suddenly there was a beautiful butterfly landed on my arm. Closely I watched its colorful wings. It was very, very beautiful. Along I looked to that butterfly, I pondered how amazing and wonderful God’s creation. Butterfly experienced four stages of metamorphosis before becomes a beautiful butterfly. Initially started from the eggs that hatch and give birth to larvae (caterpillars), which may be for many people especially women considered to be a disgusting thing. This caterpillar movement would easily make many people shudder in disgust when seeing or touching it. Then the caterpillar will change into a cocoon, and finally from the cocoon it will come out a beautiful butterfly. Gracefully the butterfly will fly showing its beauty. It is really change in total.
Another thing crossed to my mind. In our Christian living, Metamorphosis that occurs in the butterfly could we use as an analogy / simple model from a change in life. As Christians we change from the old person becomes a new one. I just thinking that indeed the changes that happen to us are no less amazing than the butterfly. When we accept Jesus, we experience a peace process with the Lord. We previously smeared with sins and do not deserve to be saved, now becomes feasible to accept the great salvation solely through the God’s grace and mercy, through the great redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Thus, when we are united with Christ, we also experienced a metamorphosis, totally becomes a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And all of it, once again, comes from God through Christ,

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (2 Corinthians 5:18)

We might previously such as disgusting caterpillars or larvae, now we have a great opportunity to be transformed into a beautiful butterfly with accepting Christ and baptism.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6: 4-5)

When we are baptized as a sign of obedience and our faith in Jesus, all our bad habits and all sin in the past is already death. We restored and transformed. Therefore we should no longer devote ourselves to sins, because the power of sin has been defeated.

 

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)

A question arises in my mind. In our everyday life, whether we have truly morphed and become a new creation? Have we really left our old life? Whether we already give an impact to others with our new life? And how we live our life as a new creation? In the difficult and tough world today, I often find and see the sad fact that there are many people claim to be Christians but in their daily lives do not reflect as the new creation. For a simple example, in the business world that I involved, I found many entrepreneurs who known as Christians still not reflect as a new creation. Without any sense of guilt and fear, they still compromise with worldly things which are contrary to what is supposed to do as a Christian and as a new creation just for the smoothness of their business sake. They justify the ways that are contrary to God’s command to get their business benefits as they expected. Very sad but that is the fact. They forgot or maybe even deliberately ignoring what God wants from us as a new creation. Paul emphatically said to the Romans,

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

This verse is very clear that God want us truly experience a metamorphosis which is granted by God, like what happened to the caterpillar up to become a butterfly. We have to change our lifestyle, outlook and mindset becomes a new one. If previously we do not know what is pleasing to God, now we know about it, and know what is perfect in God’s eyes. Changes are not just stop at the physical changes alone, but are also able to change what is within us. In the previous verse, Paul also asserted that it is important for us to get to the level where we deserve to give ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God,

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

Becomes transformed or in my analogy above described as metamorphosis is a beautiful and precious opportunity from God, we should be able to appreciate the amazing grace that God has given to us to live our life as a new creation. All has been bestowed by God to us. The problem is, do we want to make the decision to experiencing the process of becoming a butterfly or just stop being a caterpillar and cocoon only. Are we willing to leave our old life and starting a new better life. As when we wear dirty clothes, we have to throw the dirty clothes then we wear with the clean one. It is impossible if we wearing the new clothes without releasing the old and dirty clothes. Do we are willing and able to leave all of our old dirty lives and abandon all the habits and bad character as Paul said,

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5-6)

It used to be possible we indulge the various desires of the flesh as mentioned in those verses; maybe we even be controlled by it all. But as a new creation who experience a metamorphosis, we have to totally rid it all as it is written in Colossians 3:8-10,

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

On the other side, when we have truly experienced a total change into a new creation, it will enable us spiritually to be fruitful. We changed to become God’s child, to be a “chosen people, holy and beloved”, and in the form of a new creation we have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. (Colossians 3:12-13) We also put love as a binder in perfect unity. (Verse 14-15)
My beloved friends, let we think and ponder these; How our spiritual quality now? Whether we are thirsty and longing to be transformed totally into a beautiful butterfly or our metamorphosis just stop being a cocoon only? If we have really took off our “dirty clothes” or we are just wearing a new clean clothes but behind in it still lags behind the “dirty clothes” Have we totally put to the death all of our earthly nature? This evening, with all humility, I encourage you let’s together to do not waste the opportunity that has been given by God to be changed, Let us not waste the gift of God that we have received by returning to the deeds of our sins as in the past.

 

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

Let’s we win the spiritual warfare against the devil temptations, no longer to be a slave of sin, say goodbye to the darkness live, soon come into the God’s light, living in it and has a light of life.

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12)

We also have to always living in the unity of Spirit and remain walk in the Spirit.

 

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

Then we could become a beautiful butterfly that brings God’s grace, to be fruitful to those people around us, and finally people will call us as “The whole new creation” Are we willing to? Amen.
Karina – Living by Faith
Photo credit: http://www.sharefaith.com
Related article: http://astorybyme.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/butterflies-in-the-darkness/