"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!
Yesterday, 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--and is--changing everything about me. That's because it's no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (Gal. 2:20). See for yourself with these 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 or taxes, don't, don't, don't). So I didn't. And that made me feel 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 could have read my thoughts, they would have known 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 wore seductive clothes, flirted like crazy, and manipulated circumstances to try to make things go my way.
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'm 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 want my interactions with men 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. Far from it! But I do 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 about it! 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?