If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! —2 Corinthians 5:17
Don’t you love those “before” and “after” pictures of women who have just had a makeover? The “before” picture is often an ugly mug shot; the “after” picture is gorgeous enough for a model’s portfolio!
Recently, I told you how Jesus saved me from striving and gave me soul rest. Today, I’d like to show you my “before Jesus” and “after Jesus” pictures, because He has truly changed everything about me. In fact, I was recently telling a friend what I was like in high school, and my friend said, “I can’t see you doing that!” That’s because I’m nothing like I was ten years ago. (And hopefully I’ll be able to say that again in ten years!) So here are my two pictures . . .
Before Jesus . . .
I thought being a good Christian meant keeping a lot of rules (don’t drink, don’t have sex before marriage, don’t cheat on tests, don’t, don’t, don’t). So I didn’t. And that made me feel really good and proud about myself. While I thought I played the Christian card well on the outside, I couldn’t do anything about my heart. If others had read my thoughts, they would have known that I was a liar, a hater, and a luster (Titus 3:3–7). I was needy, needy, needy, longing for a guy to love and accept me. When I could get away with it, I borrowed friends’ short shorts so guys would want me, flirted like crazy, and manipulated circumstances to try to make something happen.
After Jesus . . .
I don’t have to “hide” anymore. I’m at peace and can be real with others—even about my “darkness”—because I have been wooed and pursued and loved by God Himself! Because of His unshakeable love for me proved on the cross, I am free to love others rather than using them and looking to them to define my worth. Instead of flirting and manipulating and strutting my stuff, I actually want my interactions with guys to be characterized by purity, love, and self-control. That’s because God has changed everything about me—including my desires! Now, obviously I’m not perfect. But I continue to see God transforming me to look like His Son, Jesus (Rom. 8:28–29).
What difference has Jesus made in your life? How has He dramatically transformed you from the inside out? I’d love to hear. If you are a true Christian, you will be able to say, “This was me before Christ, and this is the radically different person I am today after Christ.” If you don’t see Him changing you at your core, would you begin to ask Him to show you if you really belong to Him and know Him?