PASTOR'S PEN: Ugly on the inside

Perhaps you know someone from your high school days who was unpopular, made fun of or could never get a date. Then, at your 20-year class reunion, you see this same person. They’ve changed. They worked out or went on a diet and turned into the most beautiful person you’ve ever laid eyes on. Or, perhaps, they are no longer made fun of because they aren’t the dork in school; instead, they now run a highly successful business. This person is completely different, yet, if you really know them, you notice that this person is still the same. Yes, now they are gorgeous and could have any man in the room, but inside they are still self-conscious, uncertain and feel ugly compared to others. The outside has changed dramatically, but inside they remain that same insecure person they were in high school.

This reminds me of a person who has come to Christ. The Bible says that when you come to accept Christ as Lord and Savior you are a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and are “fellow citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.” (Ephesians 2:19) This is true of all followers of Christ, but, like the changed girl in our illustration, we don’t always feel like it or act like it. You may still feel guilty, immoral and ashamed.

In Romans 6, Paul gives us an illustration of what happened to us, how we should feel about it and what we should do. He says this (things in parenthesis are added by me):

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Do you see yourself this way?) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires (If you’re dead to sin, then you don’t need to submit to it anymore).  Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life (you are no longer dead, but alive! Hold onto that and shout for joy because of it!); and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness (Give it all to God and believe that He wants it and can transform it). For sin shall no longer be your master (You are free from sin! When you battle sin, remember that fact), because you are not under the Law, but under grace.”

You no longer need to think of yourself as the sinful, immoral person you once were. You are now holy and free. Remember that description and immerse yourself in it living it out each and every day.