“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
2nd Corinthians 5:17, NLT
Sometimes, you get married. You change your last name. You move somewhere new. Your entire lifestyle shifts to something new. In marriage, you sort of become a new person. In the same sense, you now belong to someone else. You dedicate your time to your spouse. Your body belongs to your spouse. Most everything that you do is for your spouse. This is the flow of your new life—it slowly belongs less and less to you. Mine becomes ours. Yours becomes ours. Your life takes on an entirely new focus—becoming a partner, supporter, lover, and champion all for someone else's sake.
Now let’s shift over to our relationship with God. This relationship is distinctly similar to a marriage. We give ourselves up to serve him. We give of our time, talent, and treasure for his sake. We place him above ourselves. We choose to live daily for someone other than ourselves, someone higher than ourselves. We find a new life in Christ. We belong to Christ even more than we would belong to a spouse, and that belonging encompasses more of our lives than a marriage does.
To belong to a spouse, certain aspects of life change. Some doors are opened and some are closed; some troubles are washed away while new challenges arise. Our union with Christ works a little bit differently. Within marriage you have a whole new family to fit into, and new struggles along with that. But you also have a whole new group of people who ultimately have your back and care about you and your spouse. There are pros and there are cons. With dedication of a life to Christ, there are no cons. Doors are opened to areas where you can utilize talents and gifts God has given you. The sins of the past are washed away and we are then given the ability to deny sinful desires moving forward – that door can be locked shut. Once we have been made new in Christ and given ourselves over to him, we are free from the sin that binds us. The good things in our lives are magnified while the bad things are washed away. That key is tossed in the ocean. Along with any new challenges in life, comes a new peace. We are equipped to handle everything that comes our way, so long as the entirety of our trust lies in him. The positive aspects of belonging to Christ far outweigh any aspect of belonging to a new spouse.
Belonging to Christ re-creates us. We are made NEW. Baptism symbolizes our death to sin (as on the cross) and resurrection in Christ as pure and spotless. The old self has been washed away. This act declares that you BELONG to Jesus and you are willing to live all of life for him. You are choosing to put God first. You are choosing to dedicate your time, talent, treasure, choices, thoughts, speech, and everything to Christ. As with a healthy marriage, this deep dedication is a very real sacrifice – you must put aside your own desires and dreams for those of Christ. You must be willing to be last. The benefits of this sacrifice are so worth it. When you put aside yourself to align with your spouse and they do the same, you achieve an unparalleled level of harmony. This selfless love shared by both in relationship produces the healthiest intimacy and companionship. This is the same deep intimacy and companionship that God desires to have with us! When we offer up our dreams, he trades them for greater visions. If we partake in his name, we share in the ever-flowing benefits from his kingdom. Belonging to Christ makes our lives better and more full than we could ever anticipate! New life has begun.
Devotional written by Daniel & Heather Christy. Graphic designed by Isaac Taleno.