Christian Post, Devotionals, Personal Post, Questions for my Readers

A New Creation

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 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Being a new person sounds really nice. Previously, I’ve always been the first to declare that I find lots of hope in that I can change who I am, because, honestly, I don’t like who I am a lot of the time.

But there is another side to that verse which I have discovered in the past few weeks.

To live as Christians, we have to relinquish our personality, and allow God to change everything about us—even our identity.

That is frightening.

I am naturally anti-social, aggressive, blunt, and stubborn. It is part of my personality, and once I found out that I was an INTJ (Myers Briggs personality type), I had embraced it. This is who I am. This is my identity.

Only, as I have been reading the Bible, I have come across verses such as these:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13: 34-35

“I… beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…” ~ Ephesians 4:1-2

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” ~ Galatians 5:13-14

Yikes. I need to be gentle? Loving people? But I hate being around most people! It is who I am.

It has been hard for me to come to this conclusion, but I know that God has a plan for me which is far better than anything I can imagine. And I also know that I currently am hindering His plan with my stubborn reluctance to give Him my personality.

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“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

The funny thing is that no one ever mentions that God told the Israelites this just before they were exiled to Babylon as slaves for hundreds of years (verse 20.) So like the Israelites, God’s promises of hope and a future may not be immediate. In fact, pain, toil, and struggling might be what are coming first.

But God had promised Israel a Messiah and eventually an everlasting kingdom on earth and in heaven. And from what I have read in Revelation, that kingdom is going to be more incredible than anything anyone can imagine. Moreover, Israel was going to and now has received the Holy Spirit—God inside of them—who would guide them and be their helper and friend.

And I want in on it.

Sure, I am going to have to go through a lot of struggle as I give up my personality and God transforms me into a new person. But I think it will be worth it because I will be living in an amazing relationship with the Creator of the Universe, and I will share in Christ’s inheritance once I die.

In C. S. Lewis’ book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan, or God, literally had to rip Eustace’s old skin off. But the biggest thing is that Eustace’s personality was completely changed. He no longer liked the books he used to or the things he used to love to do. He didn’t even have the same “friends.” Eustace completely changed, though not all at once, and now I want to change, too.

In closing, I want to ask you how exactly you are going to change and surrender your personality—the deepest part of your identity—to God. Below in the comments, I am going to post my practical goals of how I am going to change and how I am going to draw close to God so He can change me. I’d encourage you to do the same if you feel that you have been keeping your identity separate from God. Maybe we can encourage each other like Christians are supposed to do.

I know it is hard to open up. (For Pete’s sake, I am an INTJ. I defined being stoic and secretive about emotions and personal things. If you think this is hard, then I can almost guarantee that I am having more trouble with this.) But I think it will be worth it, because as the band “Unspoken” puts it, “You can never fall too hard, so fast, so far that you can’t get back when you’re lost. Where you are is never too late, so bad, so much that you can’t change who you are. You can change who you are.”

“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.  You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place.  It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”[said Eustace]

“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.

“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .” ~ C. S. Lewis (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

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13 thoughts on “A New Creation”

  1. So these are my personal goals. They may seem silly to some of you, but they are what I need to work on.

    – Talk to everyone who sits next to me
    – If I talk to someone, make sure that they know they have a friend if they need one
    – Don’t hide my struggles from my parents
    – Get involved with a youth group and make friends
    – Read two chapters of the Bible in the morning before I do anything else

    I hope you guys have a wonderful day.
    God bless,
    Gabrielle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These aren’t silly at all!

      It’s kind of funny but I’ve been seeing me coming out of my shy shell lately. I’ll be praying for you, as well! Here is some of mine personal goals I’d like to talk with God about and change:

      -When I become an author, whether traditional or indie route, being up for speaking publicly. And actually I’m sort of excited for this. Going to book signings gets me inspired.

      -Getting involved in a youth group. Yeah, been putting this one off.

      Right now I can’t think of anything else, but if I do, I’ll be sure to mention it in one of our emails. 🙂

      Raychel

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    2. These are good!

      I’m pretty good at social interactions; I’ve had to do it a lot in recent years with my various extracurriculars, volunteer events, church stuff, college applications, and a job. The trouble for me is just *starting* it… It’s easier if there’s something I can comment on (a book they’re reading, a piece of clothing, etc.), but it always feels weird to just say, “Hello.” I’ve been trying to work on it though.

      I had to read this essay last summer for a writing class, and since then, I always nod my head in acknowledgment of someone if I pass them, or sit next to them, etc. I’ve started to say “Hello” occasionally, but that tends to be just for people that I already partially know, which isn’t really the point, haha.
      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93536198

      I find it very challenging to discuss my struggles with my parents, though. Really, I find it very hard to discuss my struggles with anyone except 1 person. (There are 4 other people that I know decently enough that I’ll discuss *some* of my struggles with them, but I’ll still be reserved and hide things, so they don’t really count.)

      I’m pretty involved with my youth group at church… mostly because I’m in charge of it after our last leader had to step down (he’s getting married), and no one wanted to take over. But I could definitely read the Bible more often. It’s like Andy Mineo says in one of his songs, “God, I’m sorry, I mean it. All I want to do is walk with you, but my priorities wrong; I talk about you more than I talk with you!” I can completely relate.

      Thanks for giving me something to think about!

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      1. I know what you mean, and it is hard to start a conversation and then keep it going– especially if all they want to talk about is shallow things like favorite color and who’s dating who this week. For me it is a combination of my selfishness and arrogance that I am not really interested in most people, and that I am not willing to share my own struggles. I do have one person which I discuss my struggles with, but she is a friend, and I think it would be best if I opened up to my parents.
        That is really cool that you are running your youth group! That is really true; I’ll have to look that song up because that is exactly how I feel. It is pathetic, but God promised that if we ask Him for a stronger desire for Him, then He will answer.

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  2. Those are really good goals, Gigi. I probably need to talk to everyone who sits by me, as well.

    It is really interesting what you said about Jeremiah. I have never heard that about it. Wish I did though.

    Youth group is a ton of fun. You need to however make sure the group goes through the summer. One of the ones I go to doesn’t.

    I will post my goals after I can think of some.

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    1. My pastor brought that up the other day, and so I read the rest of the passage. It is very interesting isn’t it? Very realistic and yet encouraging.
      Yeah, the one at my church stops for the summer, so I am going to look around for some other ones. I have a couple in mind, though.
      God bless!

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  3. Ouch. I like my shell. Also, turtles die if they come out of their shells. The problem is, I need to stop being a turtle, and be whatever God wants me to be. I’ve already been trying to let go of my personality, and let God mold me, but it is hard. I’ve been working on the overconfidence and pride that comes with being an INTJ for a long time now, though I still have significant struggles with it, and I have recently started working on developing social skills. Fortunately, I am not as bad at social environments as you seem to be, most likely because I have been in a Christian version of Boy Scouts (that is actually more common worldwide than Boy Scouts) since I was 5, and that requires social interactions. However, when I examine my social interactions, I find that many of the skills that I thought I had assimilated I have just become really good at copying, and they will change depending on who I am talking to, and I will actually be doing what I think they would expect from a “normal” person. There are other aspects of social skills that I am working on, but I would write a comment bigger than your original post just listing the social skills that I am working on 🙂

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    1. I’m with you, Zane! I like my shell! I know how you feel, and I will be praying for you, too.
      Are you in AWANA? I am, and the kids in my group (Journey) are some of the only people I consider friends. Surprisingly, I participate in lots of social activities (Sunday youth group, club swimming– eight times a week, so I spend lots of time with those kids, and AWANA.) The problem is that I try to hide in the corner or put on a facade for all of the activities accept AWANA. So I definitely know what you mean when you talk about assimilation. I know that God will help us be genuine in our relationships with other (which is good because I have absolutely no idea how to do it myself.)

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  4. Hi Gabrielle. My name is Jen and I found your post on being a new creation. I am 42 yrs old and a pastor’s wife. I truly love this verse in 2 Corinthians because it describes what happened when we received Jesus into our heart. He changed everything – the old has passed away. All things have become new! He breathed life into our spirit (like He did with Adam) and now we live in Christ. Instead of struggling, rest in Him and let Him work out His perfect plan in you. He will develop your strengths and help you grow in the grace and knowledge of who He is in you. Knowing your identity in Christ is critical to spiritual growth and understanding. ‘Putting on the new self’ referred to in Colossians is walking in the new creation life that God designed for His children. He loves you so much and the more you ‘set your mind on things above’ and immerse yourself in His love for you, the more that love will be evident in your life and your interactions with others. It is a natural expression that will emerge without your self effort. Christ is in you, loving others through you. 🙂

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  5. This was posted a little while ago, so I am a little late to the conversation; I still hope my input is relevant (and I hope you have thus far been succesful in reaching your goals).

    I really resonate to the idea of wanting to cling on to personality and being afraid of ‘giving it up’ to be moulded and changed by God, which is why i feel prompted to share my own experiences.

    I am an INFP according to Myers Briggs, and as such, I do not have the same struggles as you, at least not entirely. I do struggle with socializing, and with being a little more friendly and inviting, but as a whole, gentleness and loving my neighbour has come a little easier to me than for most.

    This got me thinking. Being an INFP, I have always been filled with an uncontrollable desire to understand other people, to know where they are coming from; how they think, how they reason and most of all, how to relate to them on their level and in their language. Myers Briggs helps me do that, of course, and for whatever reason, I have particular interest in XNTJ’s. Maybe it’s because they are so different from me, or maybe (and I think this is it) they have particularly rare temperements and as such, do not jell with the wider populous, or with expected notions of ‘likeableness’ or even ‘goodness’ and the crusader in me thinks ‘thats not fair’.

    And somehow, I was led, few days ago, to two articles that I related to this; both were written by Christian female ENTJ’s. The first is called ‘Living as an ENTJ Christian Girl’ and ‘Myers Briggs ESFP–The Perfect Christian Woman (with a WARNING!)’. To summarize, both articles adressed in their own right, how it can seem easier for people with certain personality types or traits to be good Christians becasue they seem to ‘naturally align’ with such qualities. To be gentle. To be loving. To be merciful. And in general, to serve God.

    I found myself drawn more to the second article and one line in particular that struck me; it said “…the benefit of being an ENTJ is that we clash with the Christian culture, and so we’re terribly aware that we have areas of growth–we need humility, we need more grace, we need to learn to play well with others. ESFPs don’t tend to get that same feedback. And so it’s easy to sit back and be comfortable…”.

    What I found so particularly interesting about these articles and indeed that line, was that it confirmed to me that, in some way, it can seem-and the key word here is seem-a little ‘harder for people with certain personalities to be good Chrisitans, but also taught me that is also ‘easier’ for these same people. The writer point out that it is a benefit that the natural parts of herself were so opposed to what the church teaches because it meant from very early on she found herself knowledgable of what to change, unprotected by the insulation of ignorance. I think it can be easy for some people to get comfortable if they naturally align with certain features, and if society and culture is not constantly telling them they are ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ (like it does with XNTJ’s). I think we are all equally flawed and in need of growth, but some people learn that lesson earlier and in a more shocking manner than others; I think you are one of these. It is perhaps more painful and indeed more scary because you have to learn very early to truly let go and give God all the control in making you who you are meant to be in him; when you are naturally accepted by Christian society because of your natural traits, it can be easy to think you are the best Christian you can be, when really, you haven’t yet relinquished that control.

    And in some sense, that is where I am at.

    Being an INFP means that my faults may not stand out as clearly when held to the light in the way those of an INTJ or a ENTJ would, but I am keenly aware of them and they are very much present.

    One of my biggest faults i think is my individualty and it is indeed the core of my being.

    INFP’s are all about personal values; our first function, Fi (introverted feeling), is a big internal system of what we personally subjectively think is right and wrong. My Fi rules my life and it means that in every way, I try to be a moral up standing person, I try to be uniquely me.

    The problem is that I have come to trust my Fi more than I have God, and the Bible. The tricky thing is that since it is heavily based on the bible (key word being based; its not actually the bible as it should be but my tweaked interpretation of it, i suppose), it always seemed to me that I was in the right. But if i am being entirely honest, I am not in the right. I have made what I think, my own personally tailored values a god; I have made myself the author of my faith.

    And since Individuality is more important to INFP’s than it is to any other type (and it is to me; even the identity of INFP is something I cling on to), it makes the act of surrendering very very difficult. Even if I know its not true, somewhere inside of me the lie that letting go of control will make me lose who I am always makes me get stuck.

    But it is getting easier to remember that giving my identity to God won’t mean i will lose who I am; it will only make me more of who I am, and who I am meant to be.

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