After Peter got out of prison, God put him on the spot.
“During the night, an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out, saying, ‘Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life.’ At daybreak, the apostles entered the temple courts as they had been told and began to teach the people (Acts 5:19-21).”
I thought, okay, Ms. Good Christian Woman, what would you proclaim if an Angel told you to tell a crowd about what makes this life New?
“Ummm….Can I have a different question?
“My words couldn’t live up to the reality that every human being who ever lived has had every rotten thing they’ve ever done erased if they ask for it. Forever. And replaced by union with God Almighty as a free gift.”
The angel might clear his throat and say, “That’s not what I asked.”
“You mean what’s new for me?”
Okay, here goes: security and peace, even when I’m surrounded by turmoil—that’s New. Like Friday in the bank when I was clearing up some fraud on my debit card. After talking to five people at the bank, two in person and three by phone, telling my story to each one before they passed me on to someone else, I was on hold for the fourth time and annoyed at the same relentless song. I prayed a Hail Mary and thanked God for this moment with him. Big contrast with a bank-induced meltdown I had many years ago in a foreign country.
This New Life means that I’m free—I have a choice: to join forces with the prince of this world, the devil, who does nothing but carp that he’s not getting what he imagines he deserves, or turn toward “the words of eternal life” of the Prince of Peace.
In stressful moments why would I choose discontent over peace? I don’t know. I just do sometimes, or at least until I remember there’s a better way. And that better way is how I describe my New Life.
The New Life runs deep enough to be the source of New Actions, and it’s the new responses to old situations that show me that this improbable result has to have a supernatural source.
That’s where the virtues come in. Learning how gratitude, forgiveness, and patience make us like God—those virtues make the New Life possible.
If an Angel came to you, like he did to Peter, and said, “Tell them about your New Life,” what would you say? Scroll down and leave a comment—I’d love to hear your thoughts!