Rio 2016: A New World is the official slogan for this year’s summer Olympics. They’re saying it’s “inspired by new looks, new heroes, and the transformational power of sports.”

Part of the heart behind the Rio Games is revealed by the manifesto that reads, “Building a new world. With new eyes, new examples, new heroes. Making new friends, creating new families…”

There is no denying that the Olympic Games have an impact on all those involved and those throughout the world who are watching. Rio will never be the same after being the host city.

I appreciate the idea of “newness” because there is something special about things that are fresh and different. I also believe sports have great power to be used for good with the ability to cause change.

However, I believe there is an even stronger transformational power found in Jesus. When He died on the cross for the world and rose again to save us, everything changed.

Because of His enormous sacrifice, new life is now possible for you and for me. Our hearts are changed when we receive the grace and power He freely gives us.

The Bible says in Romans 6:4 (ESV), “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

When we begin our newfound life in Jesus, we view our relationships with brand-new eyes, and see the world through an altered lens that gives us renewed desires. We become a different person because of the new outlook Jesus provides, and we are given the changed status of now being forgiven.

I hope the summer Olympics provide amazing newness for Rio and people embrace the New World slogan, but in reality, worthwhile change must first start with Jesus. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray that as I seek You, I will continuously be renewed. Help me to remember the new life You’ve given me through Jesus, and to never take that for granted. I thank you for my new outlook and for the transformational power that is at work in me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.