Posted on: June 4th, 2023

It is so easy to focus on the mistakes we have made in our lives. It easy to get down on ourselves and play the tape: “I knew it! I knew I would mess up. Now look, I am a failure. I am worthless.”  Consider, are not the mistakes of the past contributors to who we are in the present? None of us would want to commit the same mistakes again but they do have value. So, rather than lament what we cannot change why not acknowledge who we are today, mistakes and all.

Also, we need to remember it is not where we start that matters, but where we finish and who we are at the finish line. Think about Saul of Tarsus and then think of him as the apostle Paul. Paul was not a murderer. He was not a rebel. Everything he did in his past was in good conscience, thinking that he was obeying the law. When he saw the light, he changed. He never forgot what he did and who he was. He embraced who he was and prayed for brethren of his Jewish heritage (Rom. 10:10-3). He will remember how he persecuted those of the way (1 Tim 1:12-14). His mind was pressing on for something far greater. He wanted to see the power of resurrection transform him and others into the image of the Lord. Where he started and where he finished were miles apart. 

We all start at the same place. We all start broken by sin. Guilty and ashamed of what we’ve done to hurt God and others. Helpless, hopeless, and wretched. Then we are introduced to good news! We are taught about the Christ who died for us, who arose and ascended to the right hand of the Father. There He reigns as King and Lord. We are introduced to forgiveness and hope. We are born again to a new life with a new mind and a new relationship with God. Great is the burden that rolled away; even greater is the grace that saves by faith. 

When we take a picture of that person in that moment and then take a picture twenty-five years later, that person does not look like the same individual. I am not talking about physical appearance, but rather the change in heart, character, nature, disposition, and teaching. We are not who we were. And we are not who we are going to be.

God wants to make us into a whole new person. Becoming a Christian is no small matter. The goal isn’t to simply make a few cosmetic changes to our lives, but to be transformed. To be like Jesus is the essence of discipleship (Phil. 3:12-14). As I strive to be like Jesus, I will improve every relationship in my life. As I strive to be like Jesus, I will be happier. As God’s work progresses and as my relationships improve, obviously my life will be better. As I strive to be like Jesus, I know God is pleased. 

One of the problems that can come with surface discipleship is that we will know deep in our hearts that it’s not enough. Maybe you’ve sensed that in your own life.  Maybe you realize that you’ve been playing church rather than getting serious about serving God and imitating His Son. The goal of a disciple is not just to listen and follow what the teacher says, but to become like the teacher—to imitate Him. Let’s remember, that this concept of being like Jesus isn’t just some grand, lofty principle that we ponder. It is a principle designed to impact the way we live our life every day.

Hold up a mirror—what do you see? Is it reflecting Jesus (Gal 2:20; Psa. 17:15)? The victory Jesus provides is forgiveness of sins but also the power to break the habit of sin and be transformed. That is the power of His resurrection. That is the good news! 

Rickie Jenkins / 02/01/23 – The Bible Way