When we built out home several years ago we took "before" pictures of
when it was just a empty bare lot, next while in progress, and
"after" pictures when it was completed. People attempting to lose
weight may take a "before" picture followed several months later,
hopefully, with a successful "after" picture. A girl getting her
long hair cut may take a "before" picture followed by an "after" with
her new hairdo. There may be "before" pictures of a city before a mall
was built and later "after" when the mall was complete. These are
just a few of many examples.
In the Bible we are told after we accept Christ into our hearts and
start to live for Him that we are new, inside and out. How can you
take Jesus into your heart and not be? The verse is found in 2
Corinthians 5:17(NIV) and it reads 'Therefore if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation. The old has gone the new has come.'
When a person accepts Christ he indeed is a "new creation". You are
now to have the mind of Christ and want to do things to try to be more
and more conformed into His image(See Romans 12:1-2). This is done
primarily though your new found hunger for the word of God.
I can remember back in 1975 when I rededicated my life to Christ I
was finally excited about being a believer. I wanted to get to know
Him more and more and hungered for the word of God. My sister got me a
version of the Bible called the "Open Bible" which was an excellent
tool for my daily Bible reading and study. It was fun, not boring at
all! My journey has included ups and downs, bumps in the road,
setbacks, backsliding, and coming back. God is good and faithful all
the time. The point is loving Jesus is more than being "religious".
I remembered after the "new me" came into being, wanting to carry my
Bible to church. I was visiting a church one time, and a lady who knew
me commented it was "cute" that I was carrying my Bible. Oh my
goodness, aren't we supposed to? A friend of ours we met through
Officers' Christian Fellowship in the military commented if you forget
your Bible you forgot your "sword" and were not armed for battle or
something to that effect. Almost "spiritually naked" in a sense.
>> So many people take the Bible for granted. That is just fine with Satan. The more you read it the more you will learn to be like Christ and not believe the world's lies. Satan may put the idea in your head that you do not need to take it to church as the scriptures are up on a screen for us to read. Or maybe the thought is, my priest tells me all I need to know. There could be a number of excuses. But my friend, they are just that. Excuses. Make it a point to look forward to reading your Bible. If you are in a church that is not teaching you to get excited about Jesus, then find another one. 'I can't do that' you may say. 'That is the denomination I was raised in' or 'what will my relatives think if I leave the church and go somewhere else?' Knowing Jesus and loving Him is not because of a denomination but it is about Jesus and wanting more of Him in your life.
Which is you want to be? Do you want to stay as only a "before" image
or do you want to be conformed to the glorious image of Christ for a
stunning "after" image? One thing is certain we can not be like Him
if we do not commit to spending time alone with Him.
I will leave you with a verse from Micah 6:8(NIV) which says 'He has
showed you, Oh man, what is good. And what the Lord does require of
you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your
PRAYER: Thank you Lord that you give me a chance to be a brand new
creature in Christ and after I am complete in you to keep growing and
learning daily through the reading of your word. Give me the power to
resist the lure of the world which will try to captivate me and draw
me away from you. Also Lord help me not be holier than thou or self
righteous around others. Give me grace and love. In Jesus' name. Amen.