Then and Now
By Rosemary Flaaten –
We all love life-change stories. Someone was once a drug addict, living on the streets, and now they have a family and are a contributing member of society. Someone was bankrupt, and now they own a multimillion dollar business. Someone chose adultery, but now have returned to their marriage and are loving, honoring and devoted to their spouse.
Then-and-now stories are inspirational. They give us hope that, despite the mistakes we have made, we can enter a new present that will enable a future of change.
Reflecting on then-and-now stories made me think of my own story of transformation. No, I never lived on the street, suffered bankruptcy or cheated on my spouse. But, before asking Jesus to be my Lord, I lived a life without God.
The apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossian church gives a then-and-now story that mirrors my life: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:21-22 NIV).
Before I committed my life to Christ, I was fearful of death, failure and just about anything that went “boo” in the night. Now, I have an abiding trust in God’s goodness and His plan for my life. I may not get it right all the time -– actually I will not get it right all the time – but God, in his amazing grace and love, picks me up and sets me back on the path of grace. He never shames me, but simply loves me and draws me further to a likeness that reflects His character.
What’s your then-and-now story? How has God’s presence in your life brought about transformation? What change has come about in your life because of God? I encourage you to tell others your story of transformation. Don’t ever feel its not dramatic enough to speak about. Every little step of change is worth celebrating. The angels are rejoicing, so let’s celebrate on earth, as it is in heaven.
PRAYER: Lord, I ask for opportunities to share my story of the difference You have made in my life. Use it for Your glory and to further Your kingdom.
BIBLE VERSE: “Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy” 1 Peter 3:15 (The Message).