I love summer and the long, fun days that it brings, but I always breathe a sigh of relief when school starts. It's nice to have some routine in our lives again, and it gives all of us a chance for a new start. Everything changes when school begins. The girls have to learn new routines, new rules and new teachers' quirks. I have to change my schedule to work around running whichever end of the carpool I'm responsible for that day. We throw off the laid-back, flexibility of summer and return to the structured routine of the school year. Every August, I feel as if we are getting a new start, one full of possibilities and opportunities.
Our verse for this week addresses just this idea. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" When you ask Jesus to be in charge of your life and become one of His followers, you get a new start. No matter what you have or have not done in the past, you are a new person in Christ. The Bible tells us that we are adopted into God's family and that we become co-heirs with Christ. God has wiped away our past sins and made us a new person.
If you're looking for a good example of this to share with your kids, use Zacchaeus. It's a story with which many kids are familiar (my youngest daughter loves this story because Zacchaeus was short like her), but your kids may never have looked at it from the perspective of how an encounter with Jesus changed Zacchaeus. You can find his story in Luke 19:1-9. Because of his encounter with Jesus, Zacchaeus not only stopped cheating people, but he paid back four times what he had taken from people. People who had encountered Zacchaeus an hour before he met Jesus would have told you he was a liar and a cheat. One meal with Jesus changed Zacchaeus so radically that an hour after his meal with Jesus those same people would not have recognized him.
When you encounter Jesus -- in your Bible study, in someone else or in prayer -- you should walk away a changed person. When you put Him in charge of your life, you say goodbye to the old ways of doing things, and you focus on the things that are important to Him. While you are learning this verse this week, examine your life and see if there's any place where you are hanging onto your old habits or ways of doing things instead of embracing the new things that Jesus has for you. I guarantee that Jesus' ways are better. So throw off the old, the new has come!