I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
~1 Timothy 1:12-16
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly man who refused to care for the people around him. Scrooge spent his life pursuing wealth and greedily holding on to every penny he possessed. But Scrooge is actually a caricature of many of us. We spend our lives pursuing our careers and obtaining possessions and fail to recognize the many needs of the people around us. We live life focused on ourselves.
However, the real story of A Christmas Carol is a story of transformation~the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge. For Mr. Scrooge, the catalyst for change was a visit by three Christmas spirits who showed him his past, present, and future if he continued living a life focused on his greed and neglecting the needs of those around him. While we won’t receive a visit from the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future, God sent us our own catalyst for change in his son, Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
The transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge reminds me of Paul’s miraculous transformation in the New Testament. We first meet Paul (originally named Saul) as a young, passionate, overly religious Jewish man doing everything he can to execute the followers of Jesus. But then a miraculous encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus transforms Paul’s life. He repents of his past and becomes one of the most passionate leaders in the Christian movement, writing the majority of the New Testament scriptures. His story inspires and reminds us that Jesus has the power to transform each and every life that surrenders to him.
After Scrooge’s encounter with the spirits of Christmas, he awakens a new man, changed in the most fundamental of ways from a miser to a generous giver, loving and caring for the people around him. Take a look at this quick clip.
When we surrender our hearts and lives to Christ, he also transforms us into new creations. We are no longer slaves to our past~we are free from guilt and shame and everything that burdened us.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
~2 Corinthians 5:17
Lord, thank you for redeeming our past and giving use new life in you. As this new year starts, help us live lives of freedom that recognize and meet the needs of those around us and honor and glorify you. In Jesus name we pray…Amen.
Today’s post was written by Michele Barnes.
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, working with numbers, writing, or working with women. In the evenings, she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, and pottery. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But her most recent passion is snuggling with her sweet, new grandson and gazing at his precious face and bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.
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