The last post ended with bullet points on how to tell your story. To recap; tell them what you were, what you are now, and that you’re still changing. To us, it’s the change that Christ worked in our lives that explains our passion. Our changed lives indicate something is different now to others. My story will serve as our example.
What I Was
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up. At one point we were living in a short school bus/camper conversion. I was eight when my parents split with a vicious custody battle afterwards. One point during my childhood, I was using inhalants to get high. Dad put a stop to that.
Later as a teen, I started drinking. I was invited to parties and made a fool of myself. Prom night found me passed out beside a fire. I almost rolled into it, not remembering how I got on the ground to start with. The story probably still survives to this day.
I was in and out of church as I grew up. I jumped back in with both feet when I was 19-20. Then pressure got cranked up and I walked away. Jesus spoke of it in Mark 4:5-6; 16-17 when he taught on the rocky soil. Afterwards, I went further downhill.
After I turned 21, I frequented a Hot Springs strip club with one of my supervisors, growing quite fond of one married stripper. Flirting with married women seemed just fine to me. Married or in a relationship, it made no difference. It’s a wonder someone didn’t knock my teeth out. I was well on my way down the road of hedonism.
This became a sort of sociopathic selfishness as I became even more narcissistic and manipulative. Anger would erupt when I didn’t get my way, not unlike a small child. It’s something I still watch for. I could laugh at others pain, or cruelly feel nothing. I was a horrible person.
Paul echoes my feelings in Romans 7:24, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
An event took place that caused me to be considered a criminal, and I was traumatized by the event that led to it, and was left utterly broken. Anxiety attacks. Therapy. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. My mind wasn’t a fun place to be. It still isn’t sometimes. During that, something changed.
What I Am Now
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV
I was a walking dead man. I deserved everything bad and then some. Then Jesus happened.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2nd Corinthians 5:17 NIV
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2nd Corinthians 5:21 NIV
A transformation began. Selfishness started to become selflessness. Humbleness emerged from the dying husk of pride. ‘What can I do to help’ replaced ‘it’s all about me.’ Anger was quenched, patience grew, along with an ever-expanding concern and love for others.
My schedule was flipped on its head. Priorities drastically shifted. If you have time, check the archives, pick a day, and look at the same day over the course of years.
It’s not over yet…
What I’m Becoming
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV
What’s in store for me? I don’t know. I’m just amazed at the changes.
Why So Serious
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15; 18-20
Because it’s true. It works, he works. Be joyfully serious. Use my story as an example for your story about what Jesus did for you. Or use it as evidence of what he can do for you.
Either way, to Him be the Glory.