Devotional: What really matters
Let’s look a little more closely at the process of the new creation as Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 5:17‑20:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors...
After we have let God cleanse us from our sins, the next phase is a creative act of God. God recreates us from within. Solomon, the wisest of all men, said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” In other words, everything that’s going to happen in your life originates from your heart. And that’s where God starts with the new creation—in the heart. He creates you anew. The light of Christ shines into your heart. All the dark shadows from the past are dispelled. Guilt and fear and loneliness and unforgiveness are dispelled by that glorious light. And then God works outward from your heart into every area of your life. And you begin to realize that you are changing in so many ways, other people begin to realize that you’re changing. It’s a creative work of God but it starts from within. And then, as this creative work of God proceeds, the third phase is that God commits to us, in turn, the ministry of reconciliation. I express it this way: We are reconciled reconcilers.
Paul says that we are Christ’s ambassadors. That’s an exciting statement. Have you ever thought what an ambassador is? He’s the official representative of a government in the territory of another government. He’s not just a private individual. He’s a very important person because of his position. As long as he operates in accordance with the directions that he receives from his government, he has tremendous authority. In fact, an insult to an ambassador is treated as an insult to the government that he represents. And when he speaks, he does not speak merely as a private individual, but he speaks with the authority of his government behind him. And that’s what God intends us to be in this world. We are Christ’s ambassadors. We are the official representatives of the government of heaven on earth and as long we operate in full accordance with the directions that we receive from our heavenly government, then all the authority of heaven is behind us. And, any insult or mistreatment we receive is treated by heaven as an insult or mistreatment of that whole heavenly government.
You remember what Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus in that encounter on the Damascus road. He said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul didn’t realize that when he attacked those Christians he was attacking Jesus Himself. What Saul did against the Christians was reckoned as being against Jesus because the Christians were God’s ambassadors. And you and I today are God’s ambassadors in this present corrupt and evil world. We represent the government of heaven.
Just one more Scripture: Matthew 4:19. As Jesus called the first disciples, He said to them:
Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
That’s what comes after the new creation. First, we commit our lives to God through Christ. We yield ourselves to Him. Then Jesus said, “Now follow Me. I have a new plan for you. I’ve got something for you that you would never have thought of yourself.” He said to those first humble fishermen at the Sea of Galilee, “I’ll make you something different. Not just ordinary fishers but fishers of men.” That’s another way of speaking about the ministry of reconciliation. Bringing men to God through Jesus Christ.
What I want to say is this: It’s not what you ARE that matters, it’s what Jesus will make of you.
Thank You Father, for the wonderful Plan You have for me. I realize it doesn’t matter what I am, nor what I was, but what You will make of me in Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. Thank You that I may be Your ambassador, Your representative on earth. Thank You for the authority that goes with that position, and help me to use that according to Your will and Your purposes, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!