Good evening y’all. I’ve had something pressing on me for a while now that I’d like to approach, so I’m just going to step up on my soap box here. The topic of being a changed person because of salvation. Is it a “cop out” to say that you were a bad person because you weren’t saved? Is it hiding behind an excuse?
I grew up a pretty good person. I was told how sweet I was by people who met me. I was always willing to help those in need and I tried my best to not make others feel low or less than. This was all despite the fact that I was constantly bullied, made fun of, criticized and made to feel like I wasn’t doing good enough. I was raised to be a decent human being and I believe that I was for the most part.
Over time those unchecked feelings of “less than” turned into addictions, aggression, low self esteem, a desire for perfection and entitlement. I didn’t feel unconditionally loved or accepted. I tried in so many ways to be noticed for my accomplishments and capabilities but my low self esteem caused me to quit at the first sign of disapproval or it fueled my drive to “show them wrong.” Most of the time I threw respect and self worth out the window and decided that no one was going to change me and that I was going to do whatever I pleased.
I learned how to criticize others. That if they were not perfect then how did they deserve to feel good about themselves when I was made to not feel good about myself? Because no one saw the good in me that I saw and knew was there, I became someone who simply wanted to be accepted by others. To be noticed for either the good or bad. I still want to be noticed, but what changed me was finding my higher power. Realizing that I can not do life without one and that being noticed for good is far more rewarding than for being noticed simply because I was cruel or had issues.
That higher power turned into being God and then God expanded into my accepting Christ into my “circle.” Jesus was the first person I truly felt loved me unconditionally.
It’s amazing what someone will do and how they will want to change once they feel loved for who they are! Yes, there are good people who are not saved. People who treat others respectfully and with kindness. Those people more than likely have something guiding them and giving them strength that I did not have UNTIL I found the one person who loved me completely for everything I was and wasn’t.
Paul is a perfect example of the saving power of belief in Christ. Salvation not only let him know that he was going to heaven, it changed his heart. It changed his entire belief system and his convictions. Even though his change from Saul to Paul was quite miraculous, he still struggled with sin. He still did things he knew he shouldn’t do. He still struggled with his sinful nature. However, he will be the first to tell you that it was Jesus and Jesus alone that changed him and, it was because of his unbelief that he persecuted so many people FOR believing in Jesus.
The reasons for my actions in the past do not lie solely on the fact that I was not saved. Salvation, to me, was so much more than simply knowing where I was going after I died. It was the opening of my eyes in the way I want to live and a very big factor in why I am trying so hard to not be that person anymore. I am ashamed of my actions in the past and I take full responsibility for them. They were the results of a life time of struggles and influences and bad choices. However, now, I have someone who is helping me in my decision making. Jesus. I still fail, I still fall short, I will never be perfect. His love and acceptance is what has made me new.
So the next time you hear someone joke about “they just need Jesus” when talking about some unpleasant soul…. remember: Some people just need coffee to make them a nice person. Some people just need a purpose. Some people do just need Jesus. I personally need all 3, but the big one that changed my heart was Jesus.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Tags: change, faith, God, Jesus, Love, newself, oldself, paul, Romans, Salvation, sin
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