I’m Not Who I Used to Be

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

My mind wandered to the Kathy in her twenties the other day. I looked in
the rear view mirror and pondered things I wished I had done when I was 27.

  • Dispensed far more grace and far less judgment
  • Been less ashamed of the gospel
  • Recognized that my insecurity drove envy, gossip and constant
  • Turned to God more quickly instead of making Him the second, third or
    fourth option
  • Owned and addressed my impatience and quick temper
  • Covered over more things with love
  • Discovered that things would never bring happiness or the even more
    elusive contentment.

Is this a good exercise? Is
it healthy at 57 to think about who you were at 27?

If it is an act worship it is.

When you are thinking
about the power of the Gospel to transform you and make you someone new—it is
more than healthy—it is worship. No one knows the darkness of your soul like
you do. And conversely no one knows dramatic changes like you do.

gospel is doing an intense rescue and rehabilitation project on this woman. The
power of the gospel includes an ongoing rehab called sanctification, the
process of being set apart unto God. We literally become someone we weren’t by
the power of the Holy Spirit. Change is visible evidence the gospel.

power to change is from the Spirit not from our own efforts.

“The Spirit never lies dormant and idle within
the soul: He always makes His presence known by the fruit He causes to be borne
in heart, character and life.” –
J.C. Ryle

Holy Spirit is working to make us new creatures as he changes:

  • Our attitudes and dispositions
  • Our affections and our desires
  • Our actions and behaviors

When we see who we used to
make NO mistake on this–it is profoundly humbling while simultaneously brings
us to our knees in gratitude.

When we see who we used to
creates a longing for more much needed transforming work.


When we see who we used to
reinforces the truth that God CAN change anyone. As spiritual leaders we can
look in the faces of other broken, unruly people with HOPE and say, “God can do
this!” We offer them a vibrant, life altering Holy Spirit who transforms. We are confident of his power.

So my friends:

Beencouraged that God’s
transforming work changes you and grows you. That work takes time. No one is
sanctified instantaneously. Oswald Chambers reminds us “this isn’t learned in
five minutes.”

Bechallenged to make
your heart and life an open book for God to step into. Being prideful,
resistant or inattentive to His voice will slow transformation.

Be diligent about the Word of God.
Neglect it and transformation will be stunted. The Word is alive. It confronts
sin for our good. J.C. Ryle:No one
who is careless about such things must ever expect to make much progress in

Be prepared
for struggle. Change is messy and not without inward spiritual conflict. The
old and new will collide for beauty to emerge.

A deep sense of that struggle, and a vast amount of mental discomfort
from it, are NO proof that a man is not sanctified. No, rather, I believe, they
are healthy symptoms of our condition and prove that we are not dead, but
alive. J.C. Ryle

Be a good repenter. The process of change is confrontation, confession and repentance. When we are confronted with our sin we must not deny it or be defensive. Yes,
that process is painful.

This is the will of God your sanctification. 1
Thessalonians 4: 3

Let Him have free reign in
your heart dear sister. Cooperate and long for his work even if it is
momentarily discomforting. By His love He is creating in us the beauty of Christ.

Published November 7, 2014