Some days I feel sad about the gap between how I am and how I long to be.
At first I wrote who I am and who I long to be. The truth is that who I am–a child of the King–does not change.
What bothers me is that sometimes I don’t respond in a godly way to life’s hurts and heartaches.
I respond in the old way–like a wounded child who barely knows God.
The enemy wants me to focus on this negative aspect of my spiritual growth–the fact that I haven’t yet fully arrived.
What God has been encouraging me to do is focus on how far He’s brought me on this journey.
Yes, I may have an ungodly response at times, but these days I know it. I confess, and I don’t resort to blaming others and shaming myself. I make sure (as my Bible study teacher has taught)that I’m not wrong long.
If I’m honest, I can see the enormous difference between how I acted before salvation and after–despite my inevitable slip-ups.
One area that comes to mind is in regard to anger. I can feel bad that I still sin when it comes to anger. But in the past if someone lashed out at me in anger, I blasted back and then gave excuses for why that was the only way to deal with the situation. I had temper tantrums regularly. I was easily angered, and I felt I had no control over my behavior.
Once I knew Jesus, He began to transform me when it came to handling my anger. It didn’t happen overnight, but change has come.
When I think of how I handled anger before being saved (in 1977), I’m amazed how far the Lord has brought me. I used to write “how far I’ve come.” But the truth is He has brought me to this place of knowing how to express anger without sinning and admitting it when I mess up.
Not long ago, I heard the song, “That Was Then, This Is Now,” by Josh Wilson for the first time. The message he sings about brings such joy to my heart every time I hear it. I confess sometimes I take for granted the gift of salvation and the God-directed transformation process that follows. This song reminds me to celebrate what God has done and is doing for me and in me.
No, I’m not perfect. I still mess up. But God forgives, and I’ve learned how to move on. He repeatedly shows me the better way–His way, if I’m willing to listen and present to Him a teachable heart.
Today I’m celebrating that once I was lost, but I’ve been found. I am a changed person. The best thing of all is that I have an intimate relationship with the God of the universe, who loves me with His unfailing love.
When someone makes a judgment that I’m not acting “good enough,” to be a Christian, I can say the phrase I’ve seen often in reference to this issue: “God isn’t finished with me yet.”
And I can rejoice over this promise in God’s Word: “…He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]” (Philippians 1:6 AMP)
God is so good.
Father, I praise You for the gift of salvation and for the ongoing transformation that’s taking place in my soul. Help me to focus on how far You’ve brought me, and help me to maintain a grateful, joyful heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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“That Was Then, This Is Now” by Josh Wilson