The writer Paul says “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17 ESV)
Your old self is who you used to be, it is your former identity. It is defined by all your weaknesses, your mistakes and what has happened to you.
Your old self is defined by your failures and successes, by the place you were born, the family you were born into, your preferences, your education and your occupation. The old you relies on all these things for its self-worth.
The writer Paul says “Be careful not to let anyone rob you of this faith through a shallow and misleading philosophy. Such a person follows human traditions and the world’s way of doing things rather than following Christ.” (Col. 2:8)
Your new self isn’t defined by any of these things, and yet it incorporates them into your identity. You have become one with Christ, the creator of the universe, and His identity merges with yours.
Henri Nouwen writes in his book Here and Now, “Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity and power is a false identity- an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: ‘You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.”
All the things that have happened to you, all your bad habits and everything that once defined you is no longer who you are entirely. You are a new person and a new creation. Your friends and family should be able to see it reflected in your attitude, your words and your actions.
Instead of falling into your old patterns, you are learning to circumvent them and be who you truly are now.
Does this mean that you have lost your unique personality? Of course not. Have the difficult experiences in your life been erased and forgotten? No, they haven’t. The difference is that now, you have overcome them through the power of Jesus living inside you. It's a process of becoming.
Your past doesn’t go away, but you are able to rise above, to acknowledge and use it to make you better, stronger. He has taken who you are and He is doing something beautiful with it.
So why do you fall back into old patterns of thinking? Because you have forgotten to remind yourself who you really are, and because you are human. The difference is, you are no longer limited by by your old habits or thought patterns. You are free in Christ.
Repeat this to yourself every day. “I am a new creation. My life is different because Jesus lives in me.”