Monday, November 16, 2009

Before and After

This morning in reading my morning meditation - the scripture reading - from Charles Stanley's In Touch, I saw a picture of myself. Not that I didn't know what I was like before, but it said it so plainly that I am grateful that I am a Christian.

Galatians 5:19-26

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we life by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Charles Stanley says: "The key to living a life of joy, peace, and victory is found in Galatians 5. Notice that I did not say a life without conflict or one free of temptation, trial, or heartache. Those are part of the human condition. But we can triumph through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In fact, today's passage makes clear how vital it is for believers to life a Spirit-filled life."

When I think about the before me, it is evident to me why not only did people not like myself, but I didn't like myself either. Now, self-love has not come immediately and in a big rush. It has taken many years of belonging to Christ (and many, many changes in my life) for me to get to the point where I like myself just as I am, looking like the Michelin tire (wo)man or Pillsbury dough girl and all. ;-) But God does not look at my outsides. He created me with love.

Yes, it took quite a long time to love God's creation (me) the way HE (emphasis mine)  sees me. But I do and I less and less I allow others' perception of me (the negative ones) to influence how I feel. God loves me, He shows me how He loves me. I am becoming (the after me) the person God wants me to become.  

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