I'm Still Me
My grandmother lived nearly 99 years. I remember her often sharing that when she looked in the mirror she thought, “Who is that old lady?” The outside changed as her hair grayed and her skin wrinkled. But she was still the same person inside. A woman with dreams and fears, things she liked and things she didn’t care for, victories and struggles. It was still her, that six year old girl who traveled by sea from Italy to Ellis Island to become a citizen of the United States.
The same can be said of each of us. Our stories and experiences differ, and we’ve hopefully gained some wisdom and maturity along the way. But no matter how old we are, at our core, we are who we always have been. I find comfort in that, but it’s also a bit unsettling. Perhaps it’s the same for you. Was there ever a point in your life where you believed and hoped that you would grow out of something? An attitude, bad habit, judgmental spirit, jealous streak, selfishness, addictive tendency…. If so, you know it doesn’t work that way. Why? Because we are who we are. Real and lasting change is difficult at best and more often than not, unattainable. Now, that doesn’t give us an excuse to continue in negative patterns or wrong behaviors. Instead, it should cause us to hunger for the only One Who makes transformation possible: Jesus Christ.
Second Corinthians 5:17 puts it this way: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV) When Jesus enters our hearts and lives, we are born again (John 3:3) and become a new creation. And this is not a New Testament concept. Although Ezekiel 36:26-27 speaks of the nation of Israel, it applies to us as individuals as well (Rom 10:9-13, 11:11-24): And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (ESV)
Once we receive Christ’s gift of salvation, it doesn’t mean we’re perfect, or even unrecognizable. I’m still me, and it’s the same with you. But now we are cleansed, declared righteous (meaning right with God because of what Jesus did on the cross) and are finally able to make true and lasting changes in our attitudes, motivations, actions, words, and thoughts through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s still me but new and improved and hopefully looking more like my Lord each day.
Just something I’m striving for along the way.