Lately I've been noticing some changes in my life, in me. These changes have been taking place gradually over time since I've begun understanding the real gospel, and I've been largely unaware that it was even happening (read: I wasn't working to change these things myself). That's right, I haven't been part of any accountability groups, have not sat under any 'convicting' or 'challenging' preaching (at least not of my own free will haha),have not tried to tackle any particular sin in my life, have not signed up for any special classes or studies, and haven't even had any plan for 'spiritual disciplines'. Clearly I can't point to anything I've done that explains any change in my life, I've been just living free and enjoying God and our relationship.
So here are some of the changes Jesus has made in me, solely by the power of his gospel (purely good news!) of grace (completely unmerited and everlasting favor) that I want to boast about:
1. I am not as often angry, or so my children tell me.
2. I'm more fun, also according to my kids.
3. I laugh more, have more peace, joy, gentleness, and patience.
4. I am not aware of any unforgiveness or bitterness against anyone, just the other day a memory of a formerly very hurtful and personal sin against me (that used to affected me every time I thought about it) came into my mind and I felt nothing but love for the one who had sinned against me, I had not one negative emotion regarding the whole thing.
5. I very rarely if ever feel guilty. Even if my house is a mess or I just did something 'bad'. (I think this is why I'm in general more peaceful and happy, and less angry!)
6. I love people much more, and rarely see them as burdens or ministry 'projects'.
7. I am more productive than I was when I felt there were things I MUST do. I still do things I don't like to do, but I don't do them out of guilt.
8. I am much freer in the bedroom. I don't care if that makes you feel uncomfortable, christians should be free to acknowledge that sex exists, God knows the world doesn't shut up about it, it's time to let the world know they've got the short end of the stick on sex by a long shot.
9. I am able to be honest with my husband and others, even bringing up things that need to be confronted without using guilt manipulation, control, or condemnation the way I once did. (Not that I have this mastered yet, but I think I've learned a lot in this area.)
10. It is almost too easy for me to consider whether I might be wrong about something and admit when I clearly am wrong, or apologize. I think it took 5 years of marriage before I ever admitted I was wrong about anything, this is NOT a trait that was naturally part of my personality! I think this might be something in the line of true humility.
11. I do not struggle with fear like I once did. At one time I was afraid to talk or even laugh out loud, but now I probably talk too much! I do not fear rejection anymore, I am so secure in God's love for me.
I think I could list even more things, but that should do it for now. I want to stress very clearly that all these things are a testimony to God and his love to me. As Paul said of his life, '...not I but the grace of God in me..." I don't want to hear a laundry list of all your sins and shortcomings, I want to hear what God is doing in your life! Do you really think it glorifies the one who shed his blood for you if you dwell on the imperfection of your flesh under the law, or should we all think about not considering people (including ourselves!) according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit at work in them? I love to be able to look people in the eye, the most screwed up people like I was, and speak words of faith and destiny to them!
I have absolutely no trouble believing the the power of God for salvation, THE GOSPEL OF GRACE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, CAN CHANGE ANYONE ANYWHERE. And it's simple, they just need to hear the good news and believe!!!