You’re More Than a Cleaned-Up Version of Your Old Self

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

Most Christians see their conversion as a cleaned-up version of their old self, rather than as a brand new creation who did not exist before. The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old is gone, not just spiffied up.

After high school I went to college where I met and married an awesome Christian man whom I met at a friend’s Bible study. I saw him sitting on the floor with his back against the wall and his red flannel shirt rolled up his masculine arms. He had a worn Bible in his lap and an easy smile on his face. Before the year was up, I became his wife. About four years later, I became a mom.

Life was good, except for this termite-like gnawing in my gut that I just didn’t quite measure up to all the other church moms with their smiling faces. I went to Bible studies and even taught a few. However, I walked around with the fear that one day I would be found out—that one day folks would figure out that I wasn’t all that I was cracked up to be. I lived under an undefined self-imposed standard of approval.

Childhood echoes of “you’re so ugly” and “what’s wrong with you?” and “you did a terrible job” left me feeling congenitally flawed. I sat in Bible study groups like someone in a hospital waiting room: hoping for the best but expecting the worst. My greatest fear was that I’d be no closer to being free of the insecurity than I was before the study began.

When I was in my mid-thirties, I sat under the teaching of an older woman in my church, Mary Marshal Young. She opened my eyes to the truths in Scripture about who I was, what I had, and where I was (my position) as a child of God. I had read those verses scattered throughout Scripture before, but when she encouraged me to cluster them altogether into one list, God began a new work in my heart.

  • You are a saint.
  • You are chosen and dearly loved.
  • You are holy.

These truths were right there on the pages of my Bible in black and white and a few in red. I knew it was the infallible Word of God, but I felt rather squeamish hearing them, reading them, believing them.

  • They didn’t feel right.
  • They didn’t sound right.
  • They made me downright uncomfortable.

At the same time I was studying about my true identity, the devil taunted me with lies. Who do you think you are? A saint? Are you kidding? This stuff might be true for some people, but it certainly is not true about you.

One day God asked me an important question—one that He is asking you right now. Who are you going to believe?

That’s what I’m asking you today. Who are you going to believe?

When I decided to believe God…that changed everything. I believe it will do the same for you.

 

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