Written by: Cathy Woodside
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Throughout the Bible, one of the many promises that God makes to His children is that if we are surrendered to His will, He will transform us from the inside out. We can begin to desire, think, and behave in ways that are more like God.
Once we can admit that we need God to lead us, He gives us access to the power of the Holy Spirit and our hearts, minds, and lives become renewed. Chains are broken. And we become God’s gift to others.
As I reflect on my continual journey of freedom, I can see the fingerprints of my Lord and Savior all over the place. Even the low points (especially the low points) begin to look and feel like gifts. I often think, “Ah, this is where You were when I thought I was alone” or “It’s amazing that You redeemed that to use and prepare me for this.”
The rubble of a failed marriage, parental missteps, self-centeredness, pride, stubbornness, and fear that once dominated my life with all its ugly consequences have been refashioned into beautiful works of art. This is what our God is in the business of doing with every burden and challenge we offer up to him.
Looking at my life in the present, I cannot for one second deny that it is the Holy Spirit who has catalyzed a profound change in me. I feel so different that I wonder if my very DNA has changed. How and when did this change take place?
Some Christians can pinpoint an actual event or a specific day that everything changed for them. I have never been able to do that. For me, the Holy Spirit has worked tirelessly, patiently, and with such grace that my change has been a lifelong process.
Oh, I do remember when I said for the first time that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, or the day I left my Catholic church and began attending a non-denominational Christian church, or the first time I prayed out loud with other believers. But my process was like the slow and careful building of a mansion – laying the foundation, pouring concrete, erecting walls and ceilings and laying floors.
I’ve had seasons where the mansion building was rapid, as well as times when I’ve neglected to care well for my spiritual home. A repair needed to be made; entire rooms needed gutting and remodeling. God knows where we hide our garbage, even in a beautiful mansion. He gently awaits the right time to help us sort through it.
Last year I had a profound revelation from God. He told me that the Holy Spirit was present during all my pain and relational mistakes with my husband and children. He responded to me with such love and reminded me, “When you were weak, I was strong. I protected your relationships. You never were alone.”
I wept. Jesus revealing His heart for me changed who I was. His character and the depth of His love for me changed me from the inside out. I was healed from my guilt and self-loathing on that day.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit does not demand that I attend to my mansion but gently prompts, convicts, and encourages me toward making it stronger and more beautiful with intentional time devoted to my relationship with my God. If I listen and repent, turning toward the Lord and leaning on Him for everything, I can feel a joy that is independent of my circumstances.
Jesus has shown me this love many times and in many ways. My prayer for you is that you allow yourself to experience His deep love for you as well. It has the power to change you.
Thank you, Lord, for loving us so completely.