A Life Beyond Down

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

My angelic little towhead pushed my hot button all day. He kept up the mischief until my patience finally cracked under his antics, and I ordered him into the kitchen for a “talk.” He followed me in silence, ready for the verbal barrage he knew was coming.

“Erik,” I said, “I’ve had it with you today. You need to cut it out, now.”

To my surprise, a slow, smug smile crept across his deceitfully cherubic face. He clearly didn’t see the seriousness of his transgressions. I continued to lecture; his smile continued to grow. My rebuke appeared to hit an invisible barrier between us and bounce right back into my face. By the time I paused for a breath, he was actually beaming.

“Erik Thorson,” I blustered in frustration, “are you even listening to me?”

“Yes, Mom,” he replied slowly as if revealing a satisfying secret, “but I’m not Erik.”

Only then did I realize I had called Kevin, who was indeed the guilty party, by his older and slightly more innocent brother’s name. Although Kevin knew he had committed the crimes, the punishment didn’t touch him because I had directed my wrath at someone else.

I thought about that mistake one day recently, when an offhand incident triggered old, familiar memories of past failures. Before long, the accusing voice of Satan harassed me. And I listened to it for a while.

Then I remembered I’m not that person anymore. I still make mistakes, to be sure, but my mistakes are not who I am. When I received Jesus’ gift of salvation, the old Pam died and a new creation arose from my grave. I am a child of God, with a new name and a new life.

Accepting the Savior’s gift has propelled me into a world of conflicting natures. I am a new, eternal creature living in an old, unregenerate body. While my new nature is eternal, incorruptible, and incapable of sinning, my body is still subject to my old sinful nature’s pull, and it gets me into all kinds of trouble.

In the epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul explains that although he still sinned, it was no longer him sinning, but the old nature that lived in his body (Romans 7:17-23). He went on to declare victory over and deliverance from that old nature through the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 7:24-25).

To be sure, I’ll be fighting my old nature as long as I dwell in this body. I am no longer at its mercy, however, and I now have all the resources I need to live outside its power. So do you.

On those days when life has us so roughed up we really don’t know who we are, there is a way out. More than that, there is a way up, a life beyond down. We don’t have to dwell in the failures of the past.

God wants us living where He lives, in a present filled with freedom, looking forward to a future when our bodies will be redeemed along with our spirits. God has done all the work. We simply accept His offer for a new life.

Then when Satan’s accusing voice comes to us in a dark hour to remind us of our past failures, we can let them bounce off us. He may be looking at us, but he’s talking about someone else. We can grin and reply, “But that’s not me.”

And we’ll be telling the truth.

Your Turn

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How do you handle the down times?

by Pam Thorson

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Pam was born at the Millington Naval Base outside of Memphis, Tennessee, the first child of a Wisconsin navy seaman and a Southern belle. Her early life was marked by many moves around the country as her father pursued a career in broadcasting. After traveling throughout the deep South and the Pacific Northwest, the family finally settled on the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) reservation in Idaho. Pam met her wonderful husband during college, set her roots down deep along the banks of the Clearwater River, and happily began a home and family. Pam and Aaron educated all five of their children at home. They began homeschooling in 1982 and graduated their youngest daughter in 2006. Pam and Aaron have been married forty-one years. They have five grown children, two sets of precious in-laws, and two beautiful granddaughters. Pam has long loved to write. She began writing for the local college newspaper and homeschooling group. Later she authored many devotionals for her church and an article for Evangel. In 2008 she wrote Song in the Night, the true account of her son’s injury in Canada, their fight to keep the doctors from pulling the plug, and the subsequent journey back home. Her second book is due for release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in early 2014. In 2000, Pam became certified as a nurses’ aide to care for their injured son. She and her family have operated a certified family home licensed by the state of Idaho since 2000. In 2011, she completed the practical nurse program at Walla Walla Community College and earned her license as an LPN. Her conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1975 set her on a journey with her Savior spanning nearly four decades. Her love for and devotion to life has come from this association with her Creator. Pam adores her husband, her family, and friends. She enjoys her beautiful little log home, good coffee, the sound of the river at night, and just about any kind of Christian music.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.

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