11 May Brand New
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26
I remember one morning I was reading the Bible and began reading the book of Ruth. As I was reading, a thought crossed my mind… “How cool is it for Ruth that she gets an entire book of the Bible named after her? When I get to heaven, what if God has been adding to the Bible all along with amazing stories of His goodness… do you think there will be a book named Chandler based on God’s glory demonstrated through my life?”
I remember scoffing at myself and thinking, “Yeah right… That’s reserved for good people, Chandler. Remember who you were in college? Yeah, there’s no chance.”
This thought sticks with me often because it happened on the morning that I left for a weekend retreat called Camp Well. It was at that retreat that I finally answered to the calling on my life – the call to ministry – because I stopped long enough to consider that God could actually use me if I let Him.
I tell you this story because I know I’m not alone in thoughts like these. So often we discount ourselves based on our pasts, but we forget that God is in the practice of using broken people to do glorious things. Story after story in the Bible is of God doing just that.
Abraham doubted God.
Moses was terrible at public speaking.
David murdered a man to get to his wife.
Jonah literally ran away from what God was asking him to do.
Ruth was a foreigner and a childless widow.
Jacob was a cheat.
Mary Magdalene fought inner demons all her life
God used a prostitute to help Israel conquer their enemy.
He used a foreign beauty pageant queen to save a nation from genocide.
Jesus was introduced to an entire town by a 5-time divorcee with a live-in boyfriend.
The early Christian church was led by a man who used to prosecute Christians.
That’s what God does. He makes us brand new. In many of the stories mentioned above, the people are given new names when they encounter God because it shows just how new they’ve been made. No matter how hard our hearts have become, no matter what we’ve done – who we’ve hurt – how dark our minds have gone, God can and will make us new. And He can use us to show His goodness and glory in this broken world.
He will give us new hearts.
He will renew the spirits within us.
We just have to let Him do so. Our past ain’t got nothing on His greatness, so let’s stop using it as an excuse.