Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (Col. 3:1)

MY FRIEND TOM (not his real name) had completed a drug rehabilitation program and invited me to come for the closing program. I was inspired by the testimonies of several former rehab patients who spoke of their journey to sobriety. One had been a pastor’s wife who had hidden her alcoholism for many years before gaining freedom. Another speaker told of his son’s battle with prescription drugs, bringing the audience to tears with his heartbreaking story of failure and recovery.

The stories were all different, but each offered a similar hope: change is possible. You can live a different life than you are now living. It is possible to leave this place and never come back.

Paul offered a similar vision of new life for every person who has been enslaved by sin. New life is possible. You don’t have to live tomorrow the way you lived yesterday. Claim your freedom in Jesus Christ. Your story may differ from the addict or alcoholic, but we are all slaves to sin until we experience rebirth through Christ. That day marks a new beginning, a fresh start in life. Use it well. Put on new attitudes, new ways of thinking, new habits. Develop new ways of relating to others, new ways of behaving. Live up to the new life you have in Jesus.

Name one virtue you are trying to develop and one way you will practice it today.

Lawrence W. Wilson is a pastor, author, blogger, and avid cyclist from Fishers, Indiana. He is the author of A Different Kind of Crazy: Living the Way Jesus Lived (Wesleyan Publishing House).