Put on Your New Self (Col 3:9-10)

I spotted this empty cicada skin last week, during a brief stroll. We used to climb trees and collect them as kids. Fun memories!

What a curious creature the cicada is! It starts off as a wingless, rice-shaped insect that burrows under the ground and remains there for somewhere between two and 17 years — no one knows exactly how long.

When the time is right, it makes its way up the tree trunk and plants itself there.

Writhing and struggling, it forces a slit in its hard skin. After about two days it finally emerges. Only then can it fly away on its rice-paper-thin transparent wings.

As New Year’s Day comes and goes, and as your enthusiasm for personal goals ebbs and flows, remember the cicada.

What an apt image for the process that theologians call “sanctification”!

Becoming a Christian is an immediate change: with one decision, we are suddenly heirs of God’s precious promises. That’s called “justification” — we’ve been put in a right relationship with God, through Jesus’ sacrifice.

But the process of “sanctification” is not at all like that. Becoming more like Jesus takes a lifetime.

Over time, we shed our original skin — putting off our “old self”, changing ingrained habits that don’t honour God.

Spiritual growth is often frustratingly slow. We’re living in the in-between: still confined by our outer shells but filled with new, eternal life on the inside.

That’s where the tug of frustration comes from. We want to love God and love others selflessly but our sinful nature gets in the way.

Lord, thank you for filling us with new life. Thank you for loving us so tenderly, despite our shortcomings. Thank you for promising to complete the good work you began in us. You are able to help us grow, because you are strong and you don’t change, so we fix our eyes on you at the start of this new year. Amen

Photo ©️ Fruitful Today

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