2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
In Christ, as a new creation, every old thing is gone but the memory lingers on. Everything old is gone we are told, yet many still struggle in life. They continue to see themselves as unappreciated, unworthy, unforgiving, undeserving, incapable and struggle with difficult emotions like anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness and may struggle in depression. How can this be? Why if we are new creations do we often see and experience little evidence to support the truth that we are a new creations with His life within us?
This is a picture of a medical phenomena called “phantom pain”. Often, after the loss of a body part (most often an arm or leg) the person continues to feel pain in the removed limb.
The limb is gone but the sensation of it’s continued presence persists. The person knows the limb is absent but the sensations continue. We as new creations in Christ know the old is gone but we continue to watch as old patterns, behaviors and attitudes are evidenced in our lives.
We are more than the body. Paul tells us, “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” Our spirit is new, we were raised to new life in Christ but the body continues to try to tell us truth. It is the phantom pain of the old Adam nature speaking to us about what we were as if it remains true. Truth cannot come from the outside, rather from the One (Christ) who lives within us. Truth says, “Yes, in your old life you had pain, but in Me, in your new life you are perfected. You were given everything you need for life and godliness. You are free to experience life in Me, in righteousness, peace and joy. You are holy, pure, undefiled, forgiven, an overcomer, and yes, My beloved and My masterpiece.”
In the old life we focus on the pain and try to remedy it. In the new life we find that His eternal life within us which cannot change, is sufficient to allow us to bear each and every pain, trial and difficulty in this life. Nothing is unbearable with Him, whether finances, friends, jobs, illnesses or emotional issues. Our part is to turn our eyes to Him, to not look at the natural, but look to Him who presents to us the spiritual perspective. He reminds us as we look to Him and trust Him that He is aware, engaged and able. He reminds us that He can remove us from the place of our difficulty in an instant but He has a much grander plan allowing us to find His presence and rest in the midst of the difficulty. As we grow in intimacy with Him we realize that He is ever present, always for us, and we grow in a realization that there is no difficulty we cannot bear in His presence and His love as we walk more and more fully in intimacy with Him.
The Truth sets us free from the phantom pain in our lives. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities or powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Corinthians 15:46, 2 Peter 1:3-4, Romans 14:7, Colossians 2:10 Ephesians 1:4, Colossians 1:22, 1 John 4:4, Ephesians 2:10, Colossians 2:12-14