[Note: Today’s devotional has been written by my good friend and fellow youth pastor, Stan DePue. You can follow more of his family’s story of adoption, foster care and general awesomeness at https://standepue.wordpress.com/ ]
Silence: Take a moment to get still and ask God to center your heart on him.
Scripture: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Devotional: Having kids has taught me more about putting my identity in Jesus than I ever thought I could. It has taught me so much about the drastic change that should come from us putting our faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. In a season of Advent, I can’t help but be thankful for the new life he has brought me and the ways he shows me what that means more and more.
When I met my daughter, Anna Lee, she was 15 months old and weighed only 18 pounds. She had been taken from her home for abandonment and we had just opened up for our first foster care placements. She was found walking around her apartment complex with no one home. I’ll never forget that night. Still with a smile on her face, I can’t imagine how scared she was. No home, no parents, hungry and placed in front of complete strangers.
When I met her she wasn’t my daughter. For a year I knew her as a little girl that I loved to death…but she wasn’t my daughter. After a long journey, on November 20, 2015, we adopted Anna Lee. On that day she was given a new name, a new identity, new birth certificate, and a forever family.
When God speaks, things happen. When God speaks, new things are created. Christ’s birth comes with an overwhelming hope of a new life. When God showed you how to surrender your life to Him for the first time, He spoke words of life into you bigger than anything else will for the rest of eternity. He spoke into being a new creation, a new identity, a new forever future…over YOU! And you better believe this. Corinthians shows clearly that our old self is GONE, and we ARE a new creation.
But to often we live in our old self. There are times when Anna Lee absolutely has fears from when she was abandoned, even at a young age. She is TERRIFIED at times of us leaving. It’s made her the sweetest person ever to say goodbye too because I get like 3 kisses and 3 hugs every time I leave, and she wants to walk to you to the door, open it for you, and maybe tell you one more time that “you forgot a hug!” But there are times when it is obvious to us that she is fearing things from an old life. Though I will ALWAYS remind her that she’s our daughter and we aren’t going anywhere, it may take years for the nightmares to go away.
At times we will always live in our old identity, not the real one. We’ll live in a way that runs after this world. We’ll live in a way that feels empty, lonely, selfish. When we do, God will always be there to remind us who we are. Let this Christmas remind you of who you are. Let it remind you of the triumph that happened over death by Jesus coming to this world. Let it remind you of the new creation he spoke over you when you first put your faith in Him.
When God speaks, life happens. Don’t just believe that in general, believe that specifically for yourself. Believe that you are a new creation. In this identity you are a son or daughter of God, and it is that identity we hold that allows us to believe in our Father’s unshakable, unending, and eternal love for us. Remember that new life, celebrate His love for you, live in that identity, and worship the God that gave everything for you!
Question: Do you believe you have been made new by Jesus?
Action: Memorize today’s verse and remember that you have been made new through Jesus and now are his son or daughter. The old is gone. The new has come.
Prayer: God, when you speak things happen. New things are created. In Christ you have made us new and adopted us into your family. Help us to fight against living our old identity. Empower us to live our new identities boldly. Thank you that the old has passed away, the new has come and you’ve brought us into a forever family. Amen.