The gift of personal grace

Today, I want to write about something uplifting. In the grip of dark, scheming politics — Hadi’s bill got tabled at the Dewan Rakyat but deferred to the next sitting for debate, creating an uproar in the house with everyone fully aware it is yet another round of sickening self-serving politics — I think some good news might be in order.

I’m going to write on personal change!

Last week, Dr George O Wood, the chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship and general-superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, USA was the speaker at Calvary Church’s weekend services and he taught a very important truth about being Christian.

Titled “Your Identity in Christ”, he preached about what that means. He said that that identity is how God sees as, in biblical language, “saved and saints, not sinners”. In modern language, it simply means that Christians are being recreated to become people as Christ sees us, the old changed into new.

Wood gave a couple of illustrative examples. I’ll share one which clearly sends home his message. He shared about a little girl he saw many years back at a friend’s home. The girl, belonging to one of the guests at that visit, was called “Tiger” and she was tearing around the house, grabbing this and that with the hosts running after her to put the things back or stop from falling. Some time later, Wood visited that home again and “Tiger” was there, too, with her family.

This time, however, “Tiger” was sitting quietly, very well-behaved. But, she was no longer called “Tiger”; she was called “Lamb”. Many years later, when he was teaching a class, he recognized the girl’s last name on his attendance list and spoke to her after class.

“I don’t know whether this is you or your sister. But were you or your sister called ‘Tiger’ as a child?” he asked.

She said, no. But as she walked away, she turned around suddenly and said, “But, I remember, ‘Lamb’!”

That was the point. She naturally might have been a tiger with her lamb qualities non-existent or recessive. Her parents chose to give her a new identity and affirmed it and she grew up to become someone far from bring a tiger, a nature that now wasn’t even in her consciousness. She was no longer a tiger. She grew into someone different and better!

“That’s the gift of grace!” Wood says. As Christians, our identity with Christ puts us in a position where whatever our problems — drug addiction, drunkeness, character flaws, shame, guilt, etc, etc — can be changed because Christ is constantly affirming our new nature.

When we know that He see us as His new creative works, that is how He affirms us and we become free to explore who we are in Christ and to become this new person according to His values. The end product can only be better, never worse!

The Christian is not a finished product; we are works in progress. It’s a life-long journey of exploring, discovering, learning, struggling and growing through it all as we make decisions by faith according to His values.

In the process we see ourselves changing, into what we may not know yet but our inherent good nature and grace by faith merges and we truly become new creations, better people.

Even if you are not a Christian, the principle of affirmation can be applied to you. Just affirm what you know is good in you and others. The result can only be uplifting.

 

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