Today, we're stepping over into the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians, originally a letter penned by the Apostle Paul for the church he founded in the city of Corinth. In 2nd Corinthians, Paul reveals himself as a real man with real struggles. He speaks of intense hardships (chs. 4 and 6) and intense trial and weakness (ch. 12).
In 2 Corinthians we see Paul as a mere man, yet a man called by an amazing God to do amazing things for Him. I pray that you and I would see ourselves in the same light. Mere women and men called by an amazing God to do amazing things for Him.
And with that backdrop, let's dive into our "new" scripture today, found in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"I'll break this scripture down in a minute, but for now let's see what Tiana from Disney's The Princess and the Frog teaches us.
Tiana, a hardworking waitress in New Orleans, has her life all together. Or so she thinks. She's making good money, saving up for the classy restaurant she and her father dreamed about opening for years. She doesn't need a man, she doesn't need to hang out with her friends, she doesn't need to have fun. All she needs are her dreams.
Tiana's on her way to realizing her dreams until a very strange occurrence takes place. After kissing a talking frog (actually a prince under the spell of an evil witchdoctor), she turns into a frog too!
A huge obstacle blocking her life goals, she must find a Plan B. She and her new frog-prince friend travel through the Bayou to find Mama Odie, whose magical powers can transform them back into humans. Along the way, Tiana makes new friends, learns to laugh, and finds her dancing feet (webbed though they may be). And Mama Odie tells Tiana the secret to happiness in life. Dig deeper into her own heart to find fulfillment and joy in life.
By the end of the film, Tiana realizes every dream she's ever had. She becomes the beautiful princess that had laid dormant deep inside her heart. She opens her new restaurant, yet with a transformed perspective. Through her friendship and budding love with the frog-prince, she's discovered treasures in life she didn't know existed. Life is full of hard work and commitment, but it's also full of fun and new adventures just waiting to be enjoyed.
And the same is true for us.
Except our budding love begins with not a mere man, but the God-Man. In Him we become beautiful princesses (or handsome princes). We discover treasures in life that we didn't know existed. We commit the hard work that our careers, our families and our community service require, while enjoying new adventures that He creates for us.
In Christ, we are "a new creation; the old has gone..." The life of sin and condemnation we once knew is gone, over, dead. Thank you Jesus.
In Christ, "the new has come!" We have a new heart, a new mind, a new nature. We want to please Him. We want to live for Him. We want to enjoy life with Him. We can approach our new life with joy and pleasure, not drudgery or a sense of duty.
Like Tiana, we live our dreams with Him by our sides. We minister to our fellow church members, serve our communities and love our families with responsibility and joy. We sit in our offices, cubicles, classrooms, work sites or in front of our laptops with a sense of purpose and pleasure. We do all this because He, our Bridegroom, lives inside our hearts, empowering us on even our worst days.
Like the Apostle Paul, we are mere humans. Yet we are humans called by an amazing God to do amazing things for Him.
Let's leave the old things in the past. They are gone. We are new creations in Him. The new has come. Let's shed the scaly old skin of the past and live the lives of royalty that we were created for!