“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”-2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Often when I read a well-known portion of scripture, my mind switches off; I read it more for the story value than with an expectation to walk away with any golden nuggets. The other day, I was in the mood for a story, so I read the story of creation. I cannot tell you how many times I have read, heard, and even taught a Sunday School lesson on the story of creation, but this was as if I was reading it for the first time. The deliberate and meticulous manner in which God created the earth spoke so much to me about how He makes us into a new creation:
The Bible verse that this blog is inspired by, Philippians 1:6, speaks of God continuously completing the work that He has started in us. When we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we become God’s new creation, His work in progress. But what does this work look like?
1 God speaks light into existence, separating day from night.
“I am the light of the world, he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”- John 8:12
We currently do not have a single working light in our bedroom, I don’t know if we’ve ever had a bulb in my husband’s bedside lamp, and this weekend, the bulb in my bedside lamp blew when I tried to turn it on. This makes it really difficult for me to get much done at night. Before Jesus, life was like that… fumbling around trying to make sense of things. In Jesus, I have the light of life, a light that brings insight and direction to navigate through a world that is surrounded by darkness. He speaks light into the darkness. He separates the day from the night, “as far as east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:12) Now that I know this daylight, now that I can see life in technicolour, I realise how selfish it would be to keep it all to myself… I am called to shine His light for those who are still in darkness to know that this beautiful light exists.
2 God separates the waters above from the waters below, creating the sky.
“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life”-Job 33:4
As a child, did you ever have competitions in the swimming pool to see who could hold their breathe the longest? Do you remember feeling like your chest was going to give in? Feeling like you were the closest you had ever been to death? Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic but how refreshing was that giant gasp of oxygen once you’d pushed yourself to the surface? The anxieties of this world so often seem like waters ready to engulf me. I am beyond grateful for the space that Jesus creates for me to breathe. Often, I try to do it on my own, I try to hold my breath and make it through the waters, with no idea which way is up or down, where I would find air. That’s when I’m reminded that His grace is sufficient for me. In Jesus, I don’t need to do it on my own, he gives me strength to do it in Him.
3 God creates dry land and plant life.
“Thus, you will recognise them by their fruits”-Matthew 7:20
When we allow God to work in our lives, he works on our character. His Spirit encourages us to develop the following virtues, known as the fruit of the Spirit, in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Just as with any fruit, there is a process to growing these. Some days I am abundant in fruit… other days, not so much. Yet, His grace abounds. When we are rooted in Jesus, drawing from His character, we begin to become more like Him. Oh, how different this world would be if we all flourished with the fruit of the Spirit.
4 God creates the sun, the moon, and the stars as signs and seasons, for days and years.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”- Ecclesiastes 3:1
None of us are strangers to the heat of the summer, the changing colours of autumn, the stillness of winter and the blossoming of spring. The seasons of life can be much the same. In Jesus, we are able to survive any season that life throws at us. In fact, we are able not only to survive them, but to grow from them.
5 God creates the creatures to fill the sea and the air, according to their kind
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”- Jeremiah 29:11
Picture this… You’re sitting on the beach, wriggling your toes in the sand. The waves are crashing into the shore right in front of you. You look up into the sky and see a flock of fish flying above your head… Wait, what? Oh yes, fish weren’t made to fly, they were created to swim the seas. God has created you for a very specific purpose. Nobody can fulfil that purpose better than you. So many people spend their lives feeling unfulfilled, looking for their purpose, trying to be someone they’re not. Part of God’s outworking in our lives involves him revealing our purpose and weaving it into a huge and beautiful tapestry that is far greater than ourselves. We know that as God works in our lives, he is shaping us towards a future and a hope filled with grace and goodness.
6 God creates land animals and He creates man in His own image.
“…Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”-Ephesians 4:24
I know of so many people who want to be God. In Jesus, though, we are being made to be more like God. It’s a continuous process of being made righteous and holy as we go along. Now I’m not talking about becoming self-righteous and holier-than-thou. Please don’t become self-righteous and holier-than-thou, that’ll just make me want to smack you in the face (which will set me back a bit on my journey to being made more like God). Yes, we need to strive to be perfect and God is making us perfect, but the reality is that until you meet face to face with Jesus, you’re not going to get there, and you definitely won’t get there on your own. God sees us as righteous and holy DESPITE our unrighteousness and unholiness, all because of Jesus. Jesus gave his life so that, through repentance and living a life in surrendered to Jesus, we may be restored to the image of God.
7 God, content that He has completed a very good work, rests.
“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”-Matthew 11:28
This world is busy, it is draining, it is demanding and it is tiring. I don’t go a day without speaking to someone who is working themselves to the bone, or carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. We have forgotten how to rest. Giving your life to Jesus doesn’t give you a free pass to a stress-and-worry-free life. No, but it does give you access to peace that surpasses all understanding, strength that is made perfect in your weakness and restoration for your soul.
Philippians 1:6 says “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Words cannot describe the hope that stirs within me to think that, no matter how rough around the edges I am, God will neither give up working on me until I stand face to face with Jesus. How exciting to know that on that day, I will enter the greatest rest of all- eternity in His presence. Of this, I am most confident.