In a few months I’ll be interviewing a woman named Diane Nichols for a Power for Living article. She wrote a book titled Prison of My Own: A True Story of Redemption and Forgiveness. I’ve been reading that book this week, and it’s reduced me to tears twice already. I cannot, absolutely cannot fathom the pain this woman has experienced.
The story opens in a courtroom where Diane’s ex-husband is on trial for murdering his 19-year-old lover. He goes to prison, and Diane is left trying to function as a single mother with two little girls who can’t understand what’s happened to their perfect family. She gets involved with another man and seeks to dull her pain with alcohol. Hers is a picture of utter, dark despair…until she finds Christ and her life begins anew.
“…Those who become Christians become new persons,” says 2 Corinthians 5:17,18. “They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to Himself through what Christ did.”
Amazing, wouldn’t you say? That a person can be transformed from the inside out is a miracle of God’s grace. You know what I really love about this? That we don’t have to do it ourselves. The work has been done through Jesus’ death on the cross. He died so that we could live – truly live, with hope for the future and freedom from the past. The instant we place our faith in Jesus, old things pass away and all things become new.
Some habits die hard, mind you. But when the Holy Spirit moves in, He sets about housecleaning in our hearts. He takes away the desires we have that are wrong or bad for us, and He replaces them with what is good and right. He gives us the ability to resist temptation, and He gives us courage to say no to the things that once controlled us.
Diane’s story is a perfect illustration of what it means to become a new person because of what Christ has done. I can’t wait to finish it, and then to do the interview.
How has Christ made you new?