Before and After
“This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” col 1:21-22
Last Sunday, Pastor Chris gave us a bit of homework. He suggested we meditate on these 2 verses from Colossians, considering our lives before and after we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
I have been thinking about this a lot this week–examining my life–my before and after life. Like many people I think, my experience was both a dramatic conversion–a line in the sand where one day I was a questioning seeker, wanting and needing more out of life–the next a forgiven and saved by grace new person.
But that overnight salvation didn’t mean that the habits and ways of living were instantly changed. Oh some were for sure. But the little unseen things–the pride, the insecurity, the frustrations, the quick temper, the anxiety, the need for approval–all these parts of my character that had been shaped by the world and my experiences in it–those remained deeply embedded within my soul. And they would make a sudden appearance when I was under stress, perceived attack or just plain didn’t get my way.
But over the years of pressing into God, of crying out to Him in prayer, of fasting and of NEEDING Him in a new and raw way–I have noticed these rough places being smoothed.
When I am frustrated for example, the temper doesn’t flare the same way it once did. When I am stressed or afraid, my thoughts turn first to God and the act of prayer has become my solution for problems both big and small. My insecurity about money that I attribute to being left to raise 3 children alone, for years kept me from tithing. But that has changed as well and tithing has become an act of worship that brings me great joy.
I remember the before me and I have seen the after me emerging. And it feels wonderful! But it has not been overnight and it has not been without some struggles. But God is faithful to continue the work he has begun in me. He will do the same for you.
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like god–truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4: 21-24