My aunt and I went to our regular Jamaican/Caribbean store a few weeks ago and as I normally do, I scornfully pulled out one of the rusty carts from the rack and began to peruse the isles.
As we made our way to the back, I saw a massive sign by the fish section identical to the picture I’ve posted. I thought, “Under New Management?” I immediately looked around and wondered, “what has changed?” The place looked the same; same old rusty carts, same old cracked worn out tiles, the shelves still needed some fixing up, the place was exactly as it always was.
I thought, if the place is under new management, it should show. It should look different… better. Where were the changes? Customers should come in and recognize a difference without even seeing a sign. Honestly, It would have been better if the sign had read “under different management” because there was no newness to the place.
As I sat in the bus a few days later, it dropped in my spirit that as Christians we too are sometimes guilty of the same false advertisement. Some of us believe that being a Christian means wearing a skirt that sweeps the floor, good church attendance and a Jesus sticker on our car bumper. We put more emphasis on the superficiality of the sign and less on the relevance of change. While our sign says Christian, our lives say otherwise and people we know look at us and wonder, “what’s different, what has changed?”
Where is our evidence?
Does it stop at the clothes that we wear or the lack of perm in our hair? When you open your mouth, what comes out? When you think no one is looking, what do you do?. What’s the condition of your mind and is your heart right with God? These are the questions that determine whether you are truly Under New Management.
Before I was saved, I basically did what I wanted to, went where I wanted to go and said what pleased me. I made my own choices and I consulted with no one. I was the boss of me.
Now its different, I have handed over “me” to God, therefore I am under His Management, a new management. And look what the Lord has done. I no longer act the same, my conversations are different and my lifestyle has changed. I don’t play by my own rules anymore because along with a new manager comes a new set of rules. Rules like “put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Col 3:8), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5) or “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. [a] Do not be conceited.” (Rom 12:16)
You see, we can’t claim to be saved with the old mentalities and behaviours we once had. We have to boast our newness, our new life found in and through Christ, and it is simply not possible to operate as our old self in a new way of life. In other words, we cannot claim to be new and hold on to the old, we have to let many things go.
Therefore, that old attitude has to change. “A suh mi stay from long time” is not a valid excuse. The old boyfriend may have to go and “mi an him deh from school days” won’t work. You may have to separate yourself from some of the old friends even though you have known them from grade school and the old way of life should not be acceptable to you anymore. I say “may” quite a few times because situations vary, but the deciding factor is whether or not what you are keeping from your old life will prevent you from stepping fully into the new one God has created.
God wants you to shed the old and come up higher into the new. Let your evidence be an inner change that radiates outwardly. True evidence speaks for itself and it begins to show when you make yourself available to God’s management.
We are Ambassadors of Christ. As Ambassadors, it is our responsibility to represent Him well and not give those around us a reason to criticize the church, God or ourselves through our misrepresentation of Him. A Christian who slanders fellow Christians, curses at the drop of a hat or is conceited in their ways, paints a contrary picture of what it is to be saved.
Are you really under new management or just a different version of the old one?
Is the cross in your windscreen your only evidence of being saved or can someone agree that there’s really a change in you; in the way that you encourage others, in your humility, the expression of your faith or your zeal for ministry. Our evidence as Christians is simply a measure of how well and how accurately we emulate Christ himself in a consistent manner.
My challenge today is for each of us to do a self-check and take a closer look at our words, our attitudes, our company, our thoughts, our actions, etc. Let’s ensure that someone who is considering giving their life to God can be inspired by our example and look to us for guidance. Old things must pass away because we are now new creatures in Christ and under new Management afterall.
[photo credit: www.jarodsafehouse.com]