Category Archives: kingdom of God
Don’t Ignore the Past
I believe that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation and that old things have passed away and all things have been made new (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). I believe that there is no life so ruined it cannot be redeemed by the Spirit of God. There is no sin so great God won’t forgive it.
Baptism symbolizes a cleansing, a death, a burial, and a resurrection. Our sins are washed away; off the table; gone. The old self died with Christ and is buried with Christ. We are connected to a new humanity as we rise with Christ.
However, ignoring the past is unwise. We are forgiven, true. Yes, we are new creations. We are also, all of us, the sum total of the experiences, influences, and genetics of our past. To one degree or another, we’ve all been wounded by life. We live in a fallen world. All of us grow up having developed an outer shell to protect us from the world. Those experiences, wounds, that shell of ours, needs to be explored, understood, learned from, and integrated into who we are. We need to enter the heart space of our true identity as beloved in Christ. We cannot do that without fully owning our past. If new creation in Christ is used to avoid working through the past, we will never enter into the newness of the gospel.
Spiritual formation, discipleship, is the process of being molded increasingly towards the image of Christ. We never fully arrive in this life. Perhaps the process goes on for eternity. Perhaps the journey rather than the destination is the point. Regardless, we all know that we are not suddenly zapped into perfection by our baptism. We are forgiven. We are new creations. We are justified. Now begins the process of sanctification, of formation. To be formed into the image of Christ requires deep digging into the past. Before we can do that effectively, we must know that we know at a heart level that we are unconditionally loved by God.
There the journey begins.
That miracle-working rabbi is near
Quick! Bring your baby
Perhaps he will condescend to touch
Even an insignificant child.
Insignificant!? Not to me
For this child is the light of my life.
This way to Messiah.
Blocked. By his disciples.
Too busy. Don’t bother.
But he comes, indignant at them,
A stern rebuke then a gentle smile as
He takes this precious babe from my arms
And not only touches, but
Holds, hugs, cuddles, coos, smiles, laughs.
I have but a faint memory of that time
It was so long ago and I was so small
Perhaps no memory
Perhaps only memory of the story
I can feel those arms,
See that smile,
Hear that gentle voice
Sense that heart throbbing
I can see those eyes even now.
Nothing has ever been the same.