2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (CEB)

11 So we try to persuade people, since we know what it means to fear the Lord. We are well known by God, and I hope that in your heart we are well known by you as well. 12 We aren’t trying to commend ourselves to you again. Instead, we are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us so that you could answer those who take pride in superficial appearance, and not in what is in the heart. 13 If we are crazy, it’s for God’s sake. If we are rational, it’s for your sake. 14 The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: one died for the sake of all; therefore, all died. 15 He died for the sake of all so that those who are alive should live not for themselves but for the one who died for them and was raised. 16 So then, from this point on we won’t recognize people by human standards. Even though we used to know Christ by human standards, that isn’t how we know him now. 17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! 18 All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors who represent Christ. God is negotiating with you through us. We beg you as Christ’s representatives, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God.   

2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEB)

17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!   

DEVOTION -Cindy Garrard (Florida)

When I became a Christian at the age of 19, I thought I had to change  my personality.  I assumed a Christian should be quiet and reserved.  For someone like me who was outgoing and loud it was a struggle.  I felt that I was supposed to be someone else.  But when I grew in age and in faith, I realized that the change I needed was actually a new outlook, focus, and vision of the life God had planned for me.

I discovered that God loves us both before and after we become Christians.  God’s children come from all over the world: we look different; we speak different languages; we have different personalities.  And that is part of God’s big, beautiful plan.  When we decide to follow Christ, we know the new change within our hearts is one that comes with great blessing and the true meaning of life.

God made me with this outgoing personality, and that enables me to easily engage people and invite them to church or Bible study.  God made each of us, and we can embrace who we are and confidently be ourselves in God’s name.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God loves us before and after we become Christians.

PRAYER: O God, we embrace our newfound life with comfort and joy.  Amen