How does Jesus change an Angry Life?
This is a brief overview of the life of John Newton who eventually became the Vicar of Olney, and wrote the wonderful hymn “Amazing Grace”
Once Newton had turned to the Jesus, how would the Lord change a life full of resentment, hatred, anger, abuse, and even murderous thoughts?
When John became a Christian, he brought with him an enormous amount of baggage, but Jesus gently ended his previous life, broke him, melted his heart, and remoulded him into something precious. Could you let the Lord work in you this way?
Paul’s wisdom: the Ending of our Old Ways – 2 Corinthians 4.10-11; 16-18
“10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
“11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body…..
“16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
“17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
“18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Paul’s Life Changing Discovery
In the reading above, we find that Paul has made an amazing discovery. The same God who brought the darkness to an end at the beginning of creation, longs to end our darkness, to close down our sinful past, and to kill off our old ways.
(In New Testament teaching, sin was never meant to be like a constantly dripping tap, mopped up by a periodic confession and a sense of forgiveness).
Paul himself had been a persecutor and a murderer, but now, writing to the church in Corinth, he shares the ongoing process of his own inward death, and the glory of a daily renewal.
For Paul, being baptised in water was only the symbol of a real experience of the Lord laying our old life in the grave, and raising us to a new life, where sin no longer has control over us.
John Wesley’s Encounter with “Dead” Christians
“Sunday, 25 January 1736—At seven I went to the Germans (Moravian Christians). I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behaviour. Of their humility they had given a continual proof by performing those servile offices for the other passengers on the ship, which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired and would receive no pay, saying, “it was good for their proud hearts,” and “their loving Saviour had done more for them.” And every day had given them an occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth.”
Why would John Wesley bother to comment on something so domestic and mundane? – It’s because he saw in them a spirituality beyond his own. These Moravians had such a real experience of Jesus, they didn’t mind being treated as dogs’ bodies. They were true believers who did not retaliate to abuse or even violence. Christians who embraced the principle of dying to self, certain that God was using negative experiences to prune out the bad and to help them to grow to be more like Jesus.
Could you let the Lord work in you this way?