I've read it so many times. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them."
Sounds great. What a relief. I'm a new person.
Then why does the old me keep waving "Hello! I'm back!", driving in the car with me, and keeping me company whether I'm alone or with others? "Doesn't she know she's dead? She's pretty lively for a corpse," I think when the old girl sticks out her foot to trip the "new me"... again.
Today I'm clearing bookshelves in our bedroom. Three tall, double-wide oak shelves, sit crammed - some double deep - with words and pictures on paper. Book dust, constant and impossible to eradicate, may be affecting my husband's allergies. So "Onward ho! Out they go!" to the living room.
Last time we cleared the shelves, W needed clearance to redo the bedroom floor. I didn't want the books back in our room then, but he shrugged, "Where else would they go?" I didn't have a ready answer to the chaos in the hallway, so the books returned.
We've talked several times about building floor-to-ceiling bookcases in the LR, but there are too many other projects needing attention. After 17 years, a house needs refreshing and remodeling, just like people do. At this point, it's easier to drag down our shelves and set them them against the LR wall where the books shall warm the room with their colors and shapes and share their dust with guests.
The old me grumbles at the effort, and I suspect W's old man lurks just around the corner, waiting to jump him, too. What's going on? Where's the perfect love, peace, joy, and patience of a fully renewed mind? I read the passage again.
Oh oh! Wait! Paul isn't done in his exploration of "new creation." He continues with OUR responsibility. It's not God's fault if we don't look or live like Jesus. Apparently God's provision, complete and free though it is, requires a personal and communal response:
"And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, is though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV)
As I shlep the full book bags down the steps, empty bags back up, that's something to work on. Reconciliation and righteousness. Hopefully the same old me is moving onward and out, like the books I trudge to their next space.