My church has a satellite service at the Alpha Center on Sunday mornings. We call this service “Joy Church” and one of their favorite praise songs is “I Am New” by Jason Gray. “I am not who I was, I’m being remade, I am new. I am chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved, I am new.”
It reminds me of God’s promise that is fulfilled each time a sinner invites Jesus into their heart. It reminds me that God doesn’t see me the way that I see myself. It’s His opinion that counts and “to all who have received Him—those who believe in His name — He has given the right to become God’s children.” (John 1:12) “Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17) The Joy Church folks sing this song with smiles on their faces and the light of Jesus shining in their eyes. It is so obvious that they totally understand God’s unconditional love.
Our relationship with God can be firmly cemented when we dig into scripture seeking affirmation of our identity as followers of Christ. John 15:1-17 reminds us that we are a branch of the true vine when we remain in him, allow him to prune our unproductive thoughts, and are fruitful because we follow his command to love others. This same scripture informs us that he calls us his friend.
Romans 6:6 stresses that our old selves are gone and, once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are no longer enslaved to sin. “Our chains are gone, we’ve been set free!” “Hallelujah, What a Savior.”
Scripture clearly state that believers have been blessed with every spiritual blessing, chosen, holy, and blameless before God, redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ, sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, God’s workmanship created to produce good works, and God loves me.
Sometimes we forget God’s promises and spend our time feeling rejected, depressed, and living out our days in darkness and despair. I invite you to read the lyrics of “The Light of the World” a favorite of mine from the hymnal we used when I was a child.
1. The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin, The Light of the world is Jesus! Like sunshine at noonday, His glory shone in; The Light of the world is Jesus!
Refrain: Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee; Sweetly the light has dawned upon me; Once I was blind, but now I can see: The Light of the world is Jesus!
2. No darkness have we who in Jesus abide; The Light of the world is Jesus! We walk in the light when we follow our Guide! The Light of the world is Jesus!
3. Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes, The Light of the world is Jesus! Go, wash at His bidding, and light will arise; The Light of the world is Jesus!
4. No need of the sunlight in Heaven we’re told; The Light of the world is Jesus! The Lamb is the Light in the city of gold, The Light of the world is Jesus!
God’s promises are readily available to all who earnestly repent and are sorry for the sins they have committed. God knows the attitude of hearts and if you really want an intimate, passionate, life-changing relationship with God I invite you to accept Jesus as your Savior and invite him into your heart. Say this prayer and patiently wait for the Holy Spirit to respond in your life. “Thank you, God, for loving me and for sending Your Son to die for my sins. I sincerely repent of my sins and receive Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Now, as your child, I turn my entire life over to you. Amen”
If you’ve previously asked Jesus to be your Savior; rejoice and spend some time seeking biblical affirmations to strengthen your faith. If you’ve not prayed for repentance before I invite you to re-read the above prayer and quietly wait upon the working of the Holy Spirit in your life. Enjoy the journey!
The writer is the pastor of Pastoral Care & Visitation at the Sidney First United Methodist Church.