One year for my birthday Renee gave me a great health and exercise book called Fit for Life. In this book, they have an entire picture section of people who have been through the program this book offers. You see all the before and after pictures of these people. I love looking at before and after pictures of people who have purposed to change their life for the better.
They are so inspiring! In three to six months these people look completely different and so much better.
I have been thinking about the newness of life that God offers us. He empowers us by His Holy Spirit to live it out. His Word says we are to be transformed. Romans 12:2 (NKJV) says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
As I was looking at these powerful images of people who had transformed their looks, I had this thought. Every one of us is working toward one of those two pictures. We are either presently creating a before-picture or an after-picture of our current life. Have you ever thought which picture you are presently creating?
In Acts chapter 26, the Apostle Paul. while on trial, is giving his testimony of the transformation of his life from being one who persecuted believers, to one whom believed himself. It became his testimony. He said Jesus appeared and spoke to him saying, “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you… to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:16 & 18 NKJV)
Everyone that changes from a before to and after picture, has a testimony. How powerful it is when our testimony is about what the Lord has done in us and our life!
I am living in my after-picture. If anyone saw me now compared to 39 years ago before I knew the Lord, they’d tell you I am a completely different person. I praise God for that! At the same time, internally I feel like I am in a before picture compared to what I believe the Lord still wants to do within me and through my life. That’s a good thing! Godly transformation is good! If I didn’t feel that way, I would be sitting in pride of how great I think I am and I would probably look and act like a Pharisee.
The after-picture is our ongoing goal is the picture God paints in our heart. It is the image of who He is transforming us into. It is the shaping of our thoughts and desires to conform to His Word, His will, and His purpose for our lives. It’s a path and a process in which we will continue to be changed as we pray and seek Him and purpose to live according to what He speaks to us through His Word.
The Apostle Paul’s testimony is a part of the picture that God paints in our heart as we walk out what God wants for our lives. Like the Apostle Paul, as God’s word works in us, we also become the Lord’s witness of what Jesus has done and will do in our lives. Our personal story will be used to help others experience God’s life-changing and transforming power – “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus.”
Your life is not to be random. God has a plan for you. An aimless and purposeless life outside of the Lord will always result in a before picture. Pressing toward God’s will for your life will help create after-pictures. An after-picture is not the end of all. It is actually only a step to the next after-picture. What does your next after picture look like?
Romans 12:2 (MSG) Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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