Made new. It is the process of abandoning the old and embracing something else. It is an act of letting go of the past and letting the present turn into something different.

As Christians, the phrase made new often refers to our salvation. We talk about that wonderful day we each experienced—when we got down on our knees and accepted Christ as our Lord. In that moment, each of us was made new. For me, that moment came when I was five. I have had many concrete years of spiritual growth and I would call myself “a mature Christian;” ready for the solid food of my faith (Hebrews 5:14).

Charlotte Vanwervan is a sophomore.

Charlotte Vanwervan is a sophomore.

When I attended Convocation I was surprised by the theme. I didn’t know how to apply it to my own mature spiritual life. I wanted to understand, but I continued to question it. What, then, does this year’s theme mean to me? I am already made new.

God graciously pointed out my flaws. “But Charlotte (and every other Corbanite who asked the same questions), please remember that being “made new” is a process. It isn’t a one-time-thing, nor does it ever end. Being “made new” is an action, and it requires your effort. I will renew you, but you need to submit to me and put off your old self—every day (Luke 9:23, Ephesians 4:20-24). You see, you will never be finished rejecting this world until it is gone (Romans 7:22-25).”

Following the Lord is not a decision that we make once and then move on from. It is not like setting yourself on a track, never to be deterred from the destination. No, following the Lord is a constant act of denying our own beings and a constant choice to give up this world for the glory of our Creator.

For me, this year’s theme is about much more than denying myself and submitting to God’s grace. It is also about the lessons I’ve learned since looking deeper in. For me, it is about humility—as I had to admit I was shallow in my initial ideas of the theme. It is about forgiveness—as I often forget to submit to Christ daily and choose sin instead. I am constantly being forgiven despite it all and I want to forgive others with that same heart. It is about love—as I fall down in the shadow of the cross and accept a gift that could only come from One who loves so deeply. This love is strong enough to make me new day after day, no matter how often I fail.