I stood in line at the Social Security Administration, waiting…waiting…waiting, with the required documents to officially change my name. After all the wedding bell bliss, the reality of transition had set in. I was in a season of change. Happy change, but change nevertheless. I now had a husband, a new home, a new dog, a new schedule, a new set of responsibilities, and even a new name. I quickly began to understand that having a new name presented some hurdles with my bank account, driver’s license, and passport, just to name a few.
I thought I would keep my old Social Security card for sentimental reasons, or even as an added record of my existence just in case something happened to the new one. When the government worker at the window told me they were going to destroy the old card, I was taken aback.
Then I realized: I can’t legally have two identities in the United States. I needed to pick one. I had to allow my old identity as Miss Jessie Sartain to be “destroyed” so I could have a new one as Mrs. Jessie Chamberlain. My new name reflects my new identity as the wife of J.D. Chamberlain. I had to leave my old identity behind.
As I drove away from the Social Security office, I couldn’t help but recognize how similarly my new identity as a married woman parallels our new identity in Christ after the Holy Spirit indwells us. We leave our old life behind, and begin a new one in Christ. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” No longer was I a single person, but was now joined with another for the duration of my life.
After the Holy Spirit indwelled me, I couldn’t hang onto the old version of myself. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). The Holy Spirit began His renewing work in me. Again, no longer was I alone, but irrevocably indwelled by the Spirit to guide and to teach me. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).
Now that the Holy Spirit is transforming me day by day, I’m no longer enslaved to sin. John 8:36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Christ has freed me and given me a new life. That is reason to celebrate!
Family Radio Staff