I love how the Holy Spirit leads and guides us when we are ministering. So many times I have had Him step in and totally change the direction I am going in while I’m speaking. Unlike us, He knows exactly what every person in the room is thinking. So if He prompts us to change direction we can trust that there is someone in the congregation that needs exactly what He is leading us to say next.
Yesterday as I was ministering in the jail service I had one of these wonderful experiences. I was going in one direction, when an image popped into my mind accompanied by an understanding of what the Holy Spirit was impressing upon on me. There were some new ladies in the jail, but there were a few who had fallen, and as a consequence had returned to jail.
I briefly shared my testimony with the ladies and shared 2 Corinthians 5:17 with them. It says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!” I often use this verse when I share my testimony. I also shared John 8:36, and talked about who the Son sets free is free indeed. Next I explained 1 John 2:1-2, and how Jesus is our advocate, and the atoning sacrifice for our sins. He is our defender.
But the Holy Spirit nudged me back to 2 Corinthians 5:17, and gave me the image of an old car in need of restoration. I knew exactly where He was going. I began to explain to the ladies that when we ask Jesus to forgive us, and we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, He makes us brand new. Then I shared this illustration.
When I was growing up, my dad restored old cars, and still does. He is really good at it. I can remember him driving up with many old beat up cars with little to no paint. Some had broken windows, and ratty upholstery. Others had holes in the floorboards, dented or missing fenders, rusted bumpers, and busted dashboards. In other words they looked like a hopeless pile of junk.
Mom and I would roll our eyes because we never could see what my dad saw in those old cars. He always had a vision for what they could become when all we saw was a mess. Dad would do the engine work and get it running good, sometimes replacing the engine with a more powerful one. Then he would sand down and remove all the old paint. He would fix all the dents and dings, and have it repainted in a bright beautiful color.
Next he would replace all broken or cloudy glass, and have the bumpers and ornamental pieces re-chromed. Then he would have the inside done, re-upholstering all the ripped or rotted seats, and replace the carpet. After all that work was done, he would do the finishing work; new fancy wheels and new tires, radio, etc. Before we knew it the car would be ready to go, and he would take it to a car show and come home with first place trophies.
His old cars looked so nice because he really worked hard to restore them to their original condition. They looked like they had just rolled off the manufacturers assembly line. And though they looked perfect to the natural eye, the fact remained that underneath all that restoration—beautiful paint, new chrome, and upholstery—it was still the same old car.
My dad is a perfectionist and his cars looked perfect. But in reality he couldn’t make the car brand new no matter how hard he tried. He wasn’t the original designer. The same is true in our lives. The only one who can make the old brand new is our Heavenly Father, because He is our original creator. When we give our lives to Christ, the old is gone. We become brand new creations. He doesn’t patch up our battered parts, or sand off our rough edges and cover us with a fresh coat of paint. No, he makes us brand new.
There are no defective parts in us at all. Our failed areas, and the parts that are not working according to His desires, are not replaced. They are made brand new. It’s as if we have rolled right off the manufacturers assembly line. We are born again! We have a new life, and a new start. Others may not be able to see what we can be, but Jesus has the vision to see us as brand new creations.
I watched as each lady’s eyes began to well up with tears. And I fully understood why the Holy Spirit had led me in this direction. So many times we struggle with the thought that our past defines us, and no matter what happens we will still be defective. We often feel like the dirt that has stuck to us, or the dirt others have thrown on us is there to stay.
We have to realize that Jesus desires to make us brand new. There are no defective parts left when we turn to Him. We have the opportunity to stand up and walk into the brand new future we have in Jesus. We no longer have to be held down in guilt and shame. Our dirt isn’t covered up, it’s gone. The old has gone, the NEW has come. And the amazing part is, when we continue to follow Him we only increase in beauty. We are never the same. There are no defective parts.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!