As Christians, I think we often forget that our identities change once we surrender our lives to Jesus. No, we aren’t in need of a new social security card or driver’s license. But from the moment of surrender, we start becoming someone different.
While the work of the Holy Spirit will continue throughout the rest of our lives and never be complete while there is still air in our lungs, there should be significant differences that we notice as our walk with Christ begins. I struggled with this when I decided I wanted to start following Jesus. I continued to associate with the same people. My schedule remained full with the routine activities that had always been important to me. There wasn’t any significant change in the order of my priorities at all. Becoming someone different wasn’t that important from all outside appearances.
The preacher man had stood at his pulpit the week before I had finally joined the winning team and told us that things were going to change inside of us. I wanted this experience. More than anything I wanted to become who I thought Jesus wanted me to be. I remember being full of both rage and anger each night as I sat at my desk to journal asking God why there weren’t any changes happening in my life.
Every morning the first few months following my surrender, I’d set out into the world determined to be a changed person. I would go out of my way to hold the door open at a store for a grown man more than 15 feet behind me, trying to be Christian like. I would be left feeling angry as the person would walk right past without even noticing my kindness or telling me thank you.
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A lot of effort went into trying to change my vocabulary. I realized as soon as I was around someone I was comfortable with, the same old words came from my mouth. I applied effort towards pushing lustful thoughts that controlled my thinking to the back of my mind. Because I was living at the beach, this effort would last for about five minutes after leaving the house.
Everything that I was trying to change about the person I was seemed to be failing miserably.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed. I couldn’t help but feel discouraged when those closest to me discussed these daily attempts were unsuccessful. Not only did I not see any changes, but things seemed to be getting worse. I guess it was because of how conscious I was becoming of my actions. The desire to start becoming someone different wasn’t lining up with the life I continued living. Or so I thought
Changes I wasn’t Able to Recognize
Over and over again throughout the day, I would catch myself whispering to Jesus. I was telling Him how sorry I was and how much I needed him. It almost started happening without any thought or effort. I began going out of the way to apologize to people when a mistake had been made on my part. I would apologize even if they were unaware of the situation bringing on my amends
When I finally started praying on my knees at night, the conversations became more intimate. I was spending more time and being more thorough about the words consuming my prayers. I learned to stare at the ocean when I walked along the beach. It made it easier to avoid staring at what would sparkle in the sun. When the activities I joined involved others from church, I wasn’t comfortable using words that made me feel shameful.
Finding Truth in Scripture
I finally realized authentic surrender didn’t require effort on my part, only willingness. The night that I began to recognize the changes taking place in my life was the night I found a verse confirming the new person I was becoming.
Matthew 16:17-18 NLT And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Simon’s new identity was confirmed by receiving a new name. Becoming someone different is what demonstrates the person we’re created to be.
How are you finding truth in scripture and becoming who God has called you to become? Leave us a comment and share with others.