I've lost some weight recently.  And it has caused me to want to ask the question: What does your before and after picture look like?

No, I am not talking about an actual photo or your physical appearance.  What I am really asking is this:

What has changed about you since the day Jesus Christ came into your life?

Don't rush to keep reading.  Look back at the question. 

Make a list.  Here's how:

Make two columns on a sheet of paper.  Label the left column "BC" and label the right column "AC".  ("Before Christ" and "After Christ", silly!)

In the left colum, answer the question: Who were you long before you knew Jesus Christ or invited Him into your life?  Write down a description or some descriptive words that come to mind.  If some characteristics were more dominant than others, bold them or underline them.

Now, when you embraced Jesus as your Lord and Savior, what changed?  In the left column, cross off the things that no longer described you.  If something didn't go away, but has diminished considerably, draw an arrow next to it pointing either up or down (up could mean that you've given that area to God; down could simply mean that it has decreased).

Now, what are you like today?  Write down some things that describe you in the right column.

When you complete that little exercise, what did you find?  For some, it is a drastic difference to see the two columns.  It is a humbling and liberating exercise to see it on paper.  You feel stirred to worship and thank God for the work He has done.  I hope that is you. 

But not everyone has that story.  Many confessing Christians today would go through that exercise and struggle.  They might not be able to recall who they were before Christ.  They might feel strange that the column on the left was not riddled with "bad stuff."  They might feel guilt that the right side and left side are actually fairly similar.
Many confessing Christians today would have
trouble describing how Christ has changed them.

What does that mean?

There are a ton of potential reasons.   It may be a mixture of several reasons or be entirely too complicated to put into words.  But let me encourage you...

  1. Sometimes God changes us gradually and not all at once.  Be patient as He continues to work in your life.  Trust His hand even when you cannot see it or feel it.
  2. Don't get discouraged if you don't have a terrible pre-Christian past.  Thank God for it!  Not all Christians went from "terrible person" to "perfect person" by the world's standards; but spiritually speaking, any person who gives their life to Christ goes from "dead" to "alive", from "wicked and condemned" to "forgiven"...even those that were "good people."
  3. Finally, some may need to sober up to the reality that part of the reason that your "chart" might not look right might be the result of a lack of discipleship.  Your spiritual growth stopped the day it was supposed to start.  There are tons of people who make decisions to trust Christ who fail to mature or grow in their relationship with God.  Sometimes this is the fault of a minstry, sometimes it is the fault of the individual, and sometimes there is no real blame upon anyone.  Whatever the case, there is ALWAYS today and tomorrow.  Ask yourself: What am I doing to grow in my walk with Christ?  Have I cheated myself out of a deeper relationship with God?  How can I give more of me to Jesus? Commit to giving Him even more influence, even more control, even more of you.   Give God fertile soil to work with in your life so that you can be firmly rooted and ready to grow.