Wednesday, August 11, 2004
A beard really changes people - especially men. You can make a man look older, scruffier, wiser, or more suspicious. A beard does amazing things. Some wives and girlfriends can't wait for the man to grow it. Others can't wait for him to shave it. My friend, Lou, spent much of his life clean-shaven. He also spent many of those same years as an alcoholic. They were terrible years for his wife and daughters. One day, Lou became so desperate that he surrendered the control of his out-of-control life to Jesus Christ. From that moment on, the Savior beat that bottle that had always beaten Lou, and right about then, he started to grow a beard. He's actually had it for several years, but a couple of years ago he decided to shave it one morning. He walked out to his family, and he said, "Hey, what do you think?" His little daughter began to cry. She begged her Daddy to grow his beard back. See, the old face made her think of her old Dad. She was afraid the old Dad was back.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Old Guy's Gone for Good."
Our word for today from the Word of God is 2 Corinthians 5:17. It's a promise from God to do something we could never do for ourselves. It's a miracle only He can do. Listen to this: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" What words! "New creation," not from the outside in. That's what happened to Lou. It was from the inside out, and it could happen to you. You've got to come to the point where you're tired of not being the man or woman you really want to be; who those you love really need you to be.
Okay, here's my right hand on the right side of this table. This is the man I want to be - that people need for me to be. Now, here's my left hand over here on the other side of the table - this is what I actually am. And I can't close this gap between these two hands. That admission in itself is the first step to having a new you. Behind our mask of having it all together is a man or woman who's addicted to selfishness, unfaithfulness, to depression, or maybe we're addicted to a temper that's out of control, to a sexual appetite, to a habit. We've tried reforming. It hasn't worked!
That's what gets us ready for Jesus. And you're ready, as this verse says, to be "In Christ." Without Him, we're in trouble. The ultimate diagnosis of our inner darkness is called sin. We've got the wrong person running things. And the Bible says, "Sin, when it is full grown gives birth to death." Sin separates us from the people we love, from the person we want to be; that we need to be. It separates us from our Creator forever, unless we are "In Christ."
How do you get in Christ? John 3:16 - "God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not die, but will have eternal life." All the faith that you've put in yourself and your religion and in other people - put it all in Jesus now, and say, "I'm Yours."
Then there's a new beginning, a new Dad, a new Mom, a new son, a new daughter, a new mate, a new friend. Someone much stronger will be in the driver's seat. He will take your life places you never dreamed it could go and daily recreate you into someone who is becoming like Jesus Himself. If you've never had that new beginning with Jesus Christ, would you tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm Yours." And then let me send you my booklet about it called Yours For Life.
As my friend's daughter found out, a new Dad is more than just a new face. It's a transformed heart. It's a miracle only Jesus can do. And it's a miracle that Jesus is waiting right now to do for you.