As I journey through my walk with Christ, the more I notice how much He has transformed me. If I can create a facebook challenge called “How Much Has Jesus Transformed You?” you would see a stark contrast in my before and after photo. I admittingly was a lukewarm babe in Christ when I first started on this journey. The Holy Spirit had to process me through some things which took some time. His Word needed to become real to me, I needed to face some trials and I had to have real encounters with Him. I remember being brought to my first Bible study a year after graduating college. I was still drinking, partying and smoking. I was also in a toxic relationship.
In addition, I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. So although I was esteemed as a good person and held on to particular values, I was still very carnal. Worldly values and perspectives were very entrenched in our family despite my relatives professing they believed in God. In retrospect, there simply was no understanding of what a walk with Christ meant.
My first year as a Christian bore little to no fruit. I’m reminded of Luke 6:43-45 where Jesus describes the difference between a good and bad tree.
In the beginning, I had no real relationship with God. I hardly ever prayed or read scripture while I was alone. I would intentionally miss worship at the beginning of Sunday service because I didn’t like it. I know, I can’t believe it myself especially because worship is my favorite part of service. My favorite was bible study primarily because I love learning, and I liked the community and intimacy aspect. So I would come into service on Sundays mainly to be with friends. My attire wasn’t very conservative either. I always dressed up but wasn’t always conscious of what the Holy Spirit would approve (Sidenote: not in a legalistic sense but I didn’t have a desire to portray what a godly woman looks like at the time). I didn’t attend prayer meetings. Gossip was normal. I didn’t serve in the church until maybe a year after joining. I actually never joined the church as a member.
In addition, my romantic life was in shambles. My dating life became very toxic and none of the people I dated were Christians who truly loved Jesus. So when I decided to stop dating and took a vow of celibacy it changed everything for me. It was a significant act of obedience that compelled me to want to know Jesus more. At the time I felt it was the road least traveled and I wanted to surrender my entire life to Jesus. I felt that I had to start with my romantic life hence I was weakest in the area of love.
Yes, I’m giving it to you raw.
However, I feel the need to show you how God can still love us in our brokenness and transform our lives. 1 John 4:19 says “19 We love because He first loved us.” He loves us despite our mess. He saved us before we encountered Him. He can transform anyone who accepts Him. You don’t need to be perfect. No one is perfect but Him.
Now that I have matured spiritually, I see His providence through it all. I see how He’s developed me. I have a deeper, loving relationship with God. My prayer life has strengthened. I read scripture and devotionals every day. I fellowship with believers more often, in and outside of my church community. I give more than I did back then and I actually enjoy it. I serve in my church. I’m more comfortable with evangelism and desire the gifts of the spirit. I won’t date a man who isn’t a man of God and sent from God.
Yet I’m still imperfect.
Our walk as followers of Jesus is a process of sanctification until we are united with Christ in heaven.
Most importantly, how can we tell if a tree bears good fruit?
If that person demonstrates the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. I’ll let you determine if I or yourself bear any of this spiritual fruit. Doesn’t necessarily have to be abundantly but any bit of it.
God needed to break me, tear down my pride, bring me on my face after struggles with my mother’s health and father’s death and verbal abuse in relationships. He needed to process me and give me strength in my weakness. I needed to completely rely on Him and not myself or anyone else.
I pray your relationship with Him grows deeper and that you are prolific in spiritual fruit. Jesus loves you so much!
May God continue to bless you!