I am a new creation. I am a new creation.
Until recently, I hadn’t ever stopped to contemplate those words. I just accepted them as a given. I am a new creation. The Bible says it, so there we go. Open and shut. This is an easy verse to check off the list as read, received, and recognized. But today, I’ve found myself questioning that. I’ve found myself wondering just how new I really am. Am I experiencing a judgment lapse? Would God deem me a new creation only to withdraw his invite into the family? Is this just another one of Satan’s ploys to get me back on his side?
This afternoon, I snuggled up on the couch with a free devotional from Leah over at Shelemah.com. I decided to sign up for her newsletter and peruse the free printables that subscribership has to offer. And wouldn’t you know, one of her free downloads jumped out at me: How Forgiveness Set Us Free. I’m not sure what aspect of this three-page worksheet drew me in, but something deep withing my spirit spoke to me when I saw it. I needed this and I needed to go through this short devotion today. No questions asked.
So, I did it. I printed myself off a copy and sat down on the couch with a pen ready to dig deep. After all, how long could three pages take to get through? But in my ignorance, I underestimated just what three, little pages could do for my spirit.
As a wife, entrepreneur, and soon-to-be mom, it’s easy for me to overlook the nitty gritty aspects of my heart. I operate with a mile-long list that never seems to shorten. Yes, I prioritize my time in the Word and rigorously spend time reading it every day, but I rarely ever stop to assess the state of my heart and where I’m spiritually going.
Leah’s simple devotion caught me off guard. As I read through the verses and assessment questions I realized that my heart is not where it should. I’ve conveniently been avoiding my personal unforgiveness. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (NIV)
Part of the gift of redemption is that Christ calls us “new creations.” This total, all-consuming change in identity is not something that is one-and-done. It’s an ongoing process, but it my life, that process had stopped running a long time ago.
When my pen hit the page to acknowledge my unforgiveness, the names and offenses flowed. Some of these situations were from decades I hadn’t even thought of in years. Like the time I went to Christian youth camp and my cabin mates spread nasty lies about me to others at the camp. Or the time an elementary school friend suddenly started ignoring me without cause. Others were of people I thought I had forgiven, but truly had not. My high school boyfriend, family, myself and even God. Yes, God made it on my list as I realized that I was still holding on to difficult things he let me walk through.
When it came time to acknowledge areas I needed to receive forgiveness, it became apparent that I was not a new creation. Arrogance, negativity, self-isolation, criticism, jealousy, resentment; my personal need for grace was greater than I had ever imagined.
Yes, God has declared all believers new creations according to this gift of salvation, but I had withheld these areas of my life from his recreating hands. I had swept all these things under the rug for so long that I was immune to their presence in my life. Instead of allowing him in to make an entirely new creature, I had frozen him out of the places I needed redemption most.
The busyness of day-to-day life has a way of blinding us to our unforgiveness and sins. Wherever you find yourself, today I ask you to slow down for a minute and honestly ask two, powerful questions.
Who do you need to forgive?
What do you need forgiveness for?
We all have things in our lives that we sweep under the rug. It’s so much easier to ignore the existence of these things than tackle them head on. But the longer we let them fester, and the more buried they become, the harder it is to acknowledge their existence in our lives. It hurt to admit the areas in my life that I need forgiveness from. It was painful to confront the fact that there are people in my life that I have yet to forgive, but I know that hiding them will only keep me from greater transformation in Christ Jesus.
Resentments become buried deep in the heart, and over time become hidden and forgotten…all the while we remain in our self-made prison. – Leah, shelemah.com
Leah is right, you know. Unforgiveness is a prison. We can pretend we don’t live there, but true freedom only comes when we are willing to shake off our chains and let Jesus transform these areas of our lives.
I am a new creation.
Interested in going through Leah’s unforgiveness devotional? Click here to head over to her website and download a copy!