My role as pastor has taken many shapes over the years.  Sharing the Word has looked like being a caregiver, a cook, a youth leader, a Sunday School teacher, a bus driver, a bookkeeper, a planner, a construction manager, and even a janitor.  I was reflecting on this latter role this week, and one of the first tasks I had as an Associate Pastor was to work alongside the custodian to strip and wax the floors of the church.  It was a tedious process.  First the old wax had to be removed – stripped away.  The floors then needed cleaned again.  Then the new wax was applied and allowed to harden.  Once cured and hardened, the floors not only looked like new again, shining as if the tile were brand new, they were protected by the now hardened wax.

Stripping and waxing the floors was not just a necessary task for the custodian, it revealed a truthful faith lesson for me.  When we believe and begin to follow Jesus, our old identity, old habits, old hurts, and old mistakes are stripped away.  In baptism, the old is washed away.  As we follow Jesus, a new life takes shape.  Our lives reflect the image that we were created in.  They shine with the light of Jesus. We have a new identity.  But it is more than an identity.  We are given the Holy Spirit.  This Spirit protects us, instructs us, shapes us, and continues to make us new each day.

Often, I have need to be reminded of this lesson.  Not just that God can make me new and give me a new identity, but that God does indeed protect me.  The Spirit, as Paul writes, renews and transforms my mind and allows me to think and discover the truth, protecting my mind with truth.  The Spirit living within me gives me courage and allows me to live in the presence of fear and uncertainty.  The Spirit living in me surrounds me with love and grace and keeps my life for good and for others.

John Wesley called this process of becoming more like Christ sanctification.  As we follow Jesus daily, living out our new identity, living by the guidance and protection of the Spirit, we become more and more like Jesus.  We become more and more the identity and image we were created to be.  Our lives are more and more transformed and we reflect the love of Jesus for others to see.

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