12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 1:12-14) NLT
I think of the life I had before Christ. It isn’t pretty. I operated out of a place of pain and brokenness and didn’t even know it. I hurt so many people with my words and choices. I knew Jesus in my head but not in my heart. I hoped I was “good enough” to get into heaven someday. “But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.” Yes, that was me. Before Jesus.
15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen. (1 Tim. 1:15-17) NLT
Now I have a different story to tell. I tell of great redemption, of healing, of a masterpiece under construction. I am a “prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners” and I love to tell people how He changed me. His patience with me astounds me as I fought Him to get to that place of surrender. He never pushed but waited for me to be ready.
5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. (Ps 62:5-7)
In Jesus I have hope. In Jesus I have life. In Jesus I have security. Nothing in this world gives me those “things”. He took a shattered heart and slowly put all the pieces back together. He then filled it with his love—enough to pour into others—for that is his desire for me. To love. I am to love God, myself, and others. I thought I knew how to love but I was so wrong. It is so much more than I ever dreamed or imagined. It is so much more than a feeling. That was the kind of love I experienced before Jesus, just the feeling kind, the kind that doesn’t last! His love is investment for the long term. It is what enables me to be free to give away what is inside of me because He will replace whatever I give. He redeems my time, my talents, my treasures; nothing is wasted when I am trusting in Him and my love can have eternal value. Praise you Jesus! I am a new creation because of You!
Lord Jesus, I can never sing your praises enough. I can never thank you enough for the redemption you’ve accomplished so far in my life. I know we still have a long way to go, but I am so grateful for your patience and unfailing love for me. I will love you forever. It is in your name I pray, Amen.