Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Change of Address - Lenten Journey Day 24 Devotional - April 1, 2014

“Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you…” – Psalm 107:2

Today I got a letter from one of my retirement accounts.  At the end of last year I moved, and I neglected to tell them.  The letter was to make me aware that they had been notified and would be updating my account information.   My mistake for forgetting to tell them my address had changed.

I have touched upon change and repentance quite a bit.  And, if choosing the path of righteousness and obedience to God wasn’t challenging enough, there is another factor that makes matters more complicated – the people who know us.  You may make a change, but unless you’ve lived in a plastic bubble your entire life, there are going to be people around you who remember who you WERE and what you DID.  There’s that old (or current) boyfriend/girlfriend there to remind you of your late night rendezvous, the cousin that continues to invite you out for a night of drinking games, or the parent who faithfully brings up your past mistakes.  Don’t you wish you could just erase the past and start over? 

Well, you can’t and you don’t have to be ashamed of the old you.  In fact, God didn’t come to fix a perfect person; that’s sort of a contradiction.  Your acknowledgement of your imperfection is what created room for God to step into your life.  In Luke 7:47 Jesus points to a woman who has been forgiven of much and how the depths of God’s forgiveness carved out even greater depths of devotion in her.  And, once you are forgiven, Christ remembers those sins no more.   Isn’t that amazing?  You have a God that “blots out your transgression” and “remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25)! 
When God did that for you, by faith, He changed your home and you moved out of the world and into the kingdom of God.  That being said, there are still people in your life that may remember where you used to live, in sin.  They keep trying to find you there. 

In the scripture, all the followers of Christ had the same challenge.  This was especially true for Paul.  Paul had quite a track record of persecuting and murdering Christians.  The same Paul who eventually came to write the majority of the New Testament that we read and study today!  Can you imagine how people who knew him must have reacted when he turned around and started proclaiming Christ; the very Jesus he had worked so hard to discredit?

So what did Paul do?  Through his letters, he sent everybody a change of address.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  - Galatians 2:20

Your transformation is a testimony!  Let everyone know it and, more importantly, SEE it in the way you live!  When they try to drag you back to your old ways, just gently remind them “I don’t live there anymore.”  

In the 1970s, there was a show called “The Jeffersons."  The whole basis of the show and the well-known theme song was that they had “moved up” from their home in the working-class section of Queens to a life of luxury in Manhattan.  The beginning of the show starts off with them pulling up to their new residence and proudly walking in.  And that was just Manhattan!  You think they hesitated to tell anyone where they now lived?  Do you think they kept it secret and opted to go by their old apartment to pick up the mail so nobody would know?  Not a chance. 

How much more true should this be for us, who were living in the slums of sin and now can say “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20)?  That’s awesome news!  It’s news we should be proud of and news we need to share.

You’re moving on up!
“From glory to glory…”- 2 Corinthians 3:18

Who do you need to notify of your change in address?

Let’s pray:  Dear God, You are my redeemer.  You promise me in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  By faith, I am an heir and citizen of Your kingdom.  When others try to remind me of the old me, may I have the courage to share Your transformative work in my life.  In all that I say and do, I pray others will see a new me and get a glimpse into kingdom-living.  Use me to draw others into Your kingdom.  Amen.

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