Each January, our society overflows with flocks of people determined to remake themselves. When I worked at a coffee shop, January was always the slowest month of the year. But inevitably, by the beginning of February, all of the resolutions to become someone new had faded away and it was business as usual. The self-resolve to avoid sugar, to go to the gym, to be less predictable, had fallen by the wayside as everyone resumed the roles of who they had previously been.
As believers, our renewal is not simply a yearly resolve, it is a constant process of being changed and formed into the image of Christ. It’s not a fad, it needs to be a lasting, rooted pattern in our life.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 1 Corinthians 5:17, ESV
If we are in Christ, He is the foundation of our life, a life that is being remade into a new creation. So as we grow more into the new creation this year, let us not grow weary and burn out after only a few weeks.
Here are 3 ways to help embrace your new identity in Christ:
1. Know it’s Not Your Will-Power That’s Going to Bring About Change
We need to be committed to change. We need to let go of our sin and to embrace a life of holiness. However, unlike other resolutions, the resolution to embrace our identity in Christ isn’t something we can simply will-power into happening. It’s something that can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV
The Holy Spirit will transform us. We cannot transform ourselves. His conviction in our life is the best accountability partner we could ever ask for. He will keep prompting our hearts, convicting us of sin, and transforming us into the image of Christ. But as we run this race, we need to remember that this transformation is not something we’re walking through alone.
2. Fix Your Eyes Upon Christ
From the moment your eyes open in the morning, fix them upon Christ.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. – Hebrews 12:1-4, NLT
When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we are encouraged in the battle against sin. His perfection, His endurance through humiliation and torture, His entire life means that we are not alone because He has been tempted in every way possible. He understands what it means to be tempted but yet, is without sin. When we fix our eyes upon Christ, we see that it is possible with His grace to conquer the sin in our lives.
We also see the joy that is coming our way. Christ endured trials, temptations, and suffering but at the end, He was glorified. Because of His work, we will receive the joy of being in paradise with Him.
3. Embrace Vulnerable Transparency in Your Church Community
If we’re going to become more Christ-like this year, if we’re going to become a new creation, we need the community around us. God has given us the community of believers to strengthen our walk and to encourage us in our pursuit of holiness.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:1-2, ESV
We need to be intimately acquainted with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to be intentional about sharing vulnerably what our struggles are. If we pretend we are okay, if others do not know what we are struggling with, we are not accepting one of the greatest gifts God has given us – His Church.
When we allow others to know the sins we are tempted by, we are strengthened in our resolve against sin by their encouragement and accountability.
The communities found within our churches function Biblically when we break down our walls and share openly with one another. Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we can then come alongside and strengthen each other’s resolve to be more Christ-like.
Moving away from sinfulness and towards a new creation in Christ is a process. It doesn’t happen instantly but, by God’s grace, we can walk together, step by step, the race set before us.