Be Changed vs. Make Changes
While making changes is good, Jesus didn’t die and rise so we can make behavioral modifications. He conquered death so we could be changed from the inside out in ways far beyond we can accomplish in our own power.
In John 3, a secretive meeting between Jesus and a religious leader named Nicodemus is held. While Nicodemus seems to want to ease into the conversation, Jesus cuts straight to the heart of why they’re there, alone, at night: “If you want to be a part of God’s kingdom, you must be born again.” Rather than a list of dos and don’ts or a breakdown of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, Jesus sets before him what seems impossible - be born again. But what’s impossible for us is absolutely possible for God and that’s the point. The newness we crave, this true newness we long for, can’t be achieved through effort alone – it is a gift of God. While many of us know this, we tend to live as if this isn’t the case, as if we just try harder, work longer, and put in more effort, then we’ll achieve what God only can give. So this week, as we kick off our Newness series, we simply want to remind ourselves that the newness we crave most can never be produced by human effort or ingenuity but is a gracious gift of God available to all through Jesus Christ our Lord.