God Says You Are NOT Who You Used To Be
Jesus made you new and makes you new. His work is both a done deal and a work in progress.
THE DONE DEAL
Doubt no more.
You have prayed and asked Jesus to forgive your sins. You have asked that you get to be with Him in Heaven when you die. You asked Him into your heart (probably more than once, just to make sure!).
The thing is, He called you before you ever called out to Him.
Speaking of Himself as the Shepherd and those of us who follow Him as His flock of sheep, Jesus says,
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28, New King James Version
You heard Him call to you.
- in a fit of fear regarding where your eternal soul would end up when you die
- in a dream when a beloved, but deceased, relative spoke to you about Heaven
- in your association with joyful, gentle people who turned out to be far more genuine than the boastful, self-righteous ones you caught doing deceitful things
You heard Jesus call, and you answered.
1. You confessed your sins
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9, New King James Version
2. And God has made you NEW
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17, New King James Version
Don’t doubt, because it’s a done deal. Jesus saved you.
You are in Him, which means you are NOT who you used to be.
And you’re not even all that you will become.
THE WORK IN PROGRESS
God’s work in you is a work in progress.
And sometimes that progress feels awfully S-L-O-W.
It was wintertime, January 2018, early in the morning, when I heard so very clearly God’s call for me to write. I was in bed at the time, and I well remember the glow inside as He assured me of a great adventure ahead.
I hadn’t even opened my eyes yet, nor did I rush to. I relished the JOY of God’s palpable presence.
Then it hit.
My bed rocked. The floor dipped. The walls lost their grip on the ceiling. I opened my eyes and felt myself drowning in a room that swam.
It wasn’t an earthquake
It was the first day I experienced symptoms of what would be a long and difficult illness to pin down and heal from. It took over two years (and countless lifestyle changes) for me to have the physical strength to endure the rigors of working full time as a writer.
There were some bright spots along the way.
I was able to attend a conference during that time. I even wrote and published my first book. But I wasn’t working as a full-time writer, encouraging women like I had been encouraged, doing the work that I was sure God had called me to do.
Looking back, I wasn’t ready at the time that God called. He knew that, but I didn’t.
I realize now that God graciously gave me the hope of a writing career to help sustain me through the painful process of healing. And having experienced every aspect of that process, I know that He used each difficulty to improve my character, better my focus, and increase my skill so that I would, not only do what He called me to do, but do it well.
3. So it is with you
When your world swims, dips, and sways, know that God is in control. When you feel yourself slipping and sliding into old, useless ways of behaving, be encouraged that God sees that, too. He will discipline you and educate you. He will make you more and more like His Son.
I like the way Eugene Peterson worded this promise in his translation of the Bible called The Message (from 1 Corinthians 1:7-9):
“Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.”
Please don’t forget it. And don’t doubt it. You are new and are being made new (all the time!), you beautiful creation, YOU!