Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
(John 3:3 New Living Translation)
New Year. New You! We usually hear these words at the beginning of a new year. Some persons enter the new year with the hope of changing some aspect of their lives. Some persons resolve to change their physical appearance, their bad habits or the amount of money on their bank accounts. The new year is a time when we look for a fresh start or a renewed vision. However, there is a great obstacle that many persons face in their pursuit of a new way of living at the start of the year: The Transition.
It is the process of transitioning from the old life to the new life that can cause us to give up on our goals for the new year. Usually transition is not comfortable. I remember when I changed jobs two years ago. I have been a qualified Attorney-at-Law for the past six years. Two years ago I worked as a civil servant doing legal research. My contract ended in the civil service and it was not renewed. I had to look for another job. In that moment I had to made a decision about my future. I decided to start my own legal practice.
The transition was not easy. I was in a different atmosphere. I was faced with new challenges. I had to learn how to overcome the difficulties of transition. It is the same with Christianity. The Christian life is a life of transition. We are moving from one kind of behavior to another. We are moving from one way of thinking to another. We are moving from the old to the new:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 King James Version)
Some persons read the above verse and believe the words the emotional changes that occur when we first believe in Jesus Christ are enough to take us to Heaven. That is wrong thinking. We feel like new persons when we first become a believer in Jesus Christ. We feel like new persons when we have just experienced water baptism. We feel like new persons when we start working for God. These things are good and necessary and they bring good ‘feelings’ into our lives. However, a time will come when we are in a hostile environment or faced with a great problem. In those times we do not feel like ‘new persons’. We start to feel weak and inadequate. We start to doubt the path we chose to walk. Sometimes we even doubt God.
God sent Moses to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. The Egyptians treated the children of Israel cruelly. Israel were forced to work as slaves. They were in bondage and under heavy burdens but God delivered them from the forced labor, the bondage and the burdens. God said He was taking them to their own land. However, they found themselves in the wilderness with the King of Egypt and his entire army behind them. There was no place to run and no place to hide. The children of Israel did not know that what they were going through was part of the transition process:
As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? (Exodus 14:10-11 New Living Translation)
The people were frustrated and upset with God and with Moses. They were in a hostile environment (the wilderness). They were faced with a great problem (Pharoah and his army coming to destroy them). However, God did not bring them to that place to kill them. God brought them to that place to defeat Pharoah and his army. That place was their place of victory. It did not feel like their place of victory. It did not look like their place of victory. Always remember this when we are facing difficulty times in our lives:
In our darkest moments it is time for God to shine. In our greatest difficulties it is time for God to show us His great ability. (Corey H.D. Beckles)
Christianity is a new life. It is a life of transition from a non-believer to a believer. From a sinner to a saint. From an old person to a new person. It is a life of transition from depending on our own strength and ability to depending on God’s strength and ability. The difficulties we face may just be part of the transition process. The transition is difficult and we will not feel like an overcomer. However, these moments are simply opportunities for God to show us His strength and ability. In these moments let us depend on God to give us the victory:
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 New Living Translation)