This weekend I had the chance to speak to a group of women from FBC Taylor and my main objective in our time was for us all to remember that those of us that are followers of Christ, that we are literally a new creation. The old is gone, and we are new. Our identity is different than previous to following Jesus.
This is one of my favorite things about my faith, and I think it's because my identity before Jesus was so messed up, that I love that because of his love for me and nothing of myself, I get to be a new person. I get a fresh start, a new me if you will.
Before I gave my life to Jesus and began following him I lived for myself alone. I did whatever would make me happy, bring me comfort, and fill whatever void I had in my heart. Most of what I did actually led to destruction and not happiness, but those lines are pretty blurry when you are only looking out for yourself.
When Aaron and I started dating one of the hardest things for me was realizing that one day I would have to tell him about my life before him. You see, he was the first guy I dated after I started following Jesus. I had never dated anyone where I had a biblical foundation and a Christ-centered dating view. He was the first. It was scary, and so many times I wondered if he loved me because I had always felt love through a physical relationship and for the first time in my life I was in a relationship where someone actually valued my heart and my walk with the LORD.
Sharing my story with the man that I was going to marry was something that I had dreaded since our first date. In fact, on our first date I gave him an out in our relationship. I told him straight up that there were some things in my past that I wasn't ready to tell him about but I was certain that when I finally did tell him that he would not want to date me anymore. I felt that was an easy way for him to step back and think about whether or not this was a relationship worth pursuing.
You guessed right that he continued to pursue me, and in fact he never once asked me what i needed to tell him again. He told me that night on our first date that whenever I was ready that he would be there and until then we didn’t need to talk about it.
I still to this day can’t believe that.
If someone said that to me I would demand to know RIGHT THEN AND THERE what they were speaking of. No way would I carry on with this “secret confession” hanging in the air.
Luckily for me Aaron wasn’t like that. That Spring semester I spent most of my time praying that God would do two things for me in my relationship with Aaron. #1 that he would show me exactly when it was time to tell him all about my past, and #2 that he would prepare Aaron for what he was to hear. You see Aaron had never kissed a girl before me, and so I felt very sad for him that he was falling in love with someone that was so used. I viewed myself through the eyes of my past and it was hindering my relationship with God so much that Spring. You see I was new to following Jesus and the past 3 years of my life had been filled with one disaster after another, all at the hands of my choices.
About 6 months after we had been dating God pressed on my heart that it was indeed time to let Aaron in on my life before I started following Jesus. By now I knew that i was going to marry him, and so it was only fitting that he know all of my story.
We were at the beach with our seniors from our student ministry and I have never felt God more in my entire life. It’s as if he was literally sitting there next to me in the dark on the beach listening to the waves roll in. I cried out to him and thanked him for letting me know it was time, and prayed again for Aaron’s heart to be softened to the words that I was about to tell him. He loved me so dearly, that i didn’t want this to crush him.
As I was there sitting with God Aaron walked up. I told him that it was time for me to share with him about my past and he sat down across from me in the sand. I wasted no time and poured out my heart and story to the man that I loved so much. You see this story was already hard because I felt as though I had disappointed God, but now I felt as though I was disappointed a man I was starting to love so much. He listened and held my hands and wiped away my tears. He never once made me feel shameful for my past, and with one sentence he set a precedent for our marriage.
Aaron looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “That’s not even the Jamie that I know, so you don’t need to be ashamed of yourself one bit.”
Just like that Aaron proclaimed my identity in Christ and not in my past. He was right and still is right. My identity is not based on anything I have done or haven’t done, but yet it is based solely on EVERYTHING JESUS DID and DID NOT DO. Jesus took on my sin, died on a cross as a sinless man, and because of that I get new life.
I am a new creation. Literally.
2 Corinthians 5:17 proclaims this truth. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”