You – Before and After!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

On one of my birthday’s, Renee gave me this new health book Fit for Life. In this book, they have an entire picture section of people who have been through the program this book offers. You see all the before and after pictures of all these people. I love looking at before and after pictures of people who have purposed to change. It is so inspiring! In three to six months of hard work, these people look completely different and so much better.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 5 we read about God giving us a brand new life as we receive Jesus as our Savior. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

God empowers us by His Holy Spirit to live it out. His Word says we are to be transformed. As I was looking at the before and after pictures of the people in this book, I had this thought: every one of us is working toward one of those two pictures. We are either creating a before picture or an after picture of our current life. Have you ever thought which picture you are presently creating? Think back to five years ago in your spiritual life, your physical life, and your mental state of mind. Have you gone backwards and are creating a picture you’d rather have as a “before” picture, or have you progressed in your life and it’s definitely an “after” picture?

In the book of the Acts in chapter 26, the Apostle Paul is giving his testimony while on trial. He is verbally painting the before picture of his life and then the after picture after Jesus got a hold of him. It became his testimony. Everyone that changes from a before to and after has a testimony. How powerful it is when our testimony is about what the Lord has done in us!

I am definitely living in an after picture. I say that because if anyone saw me now compared to thirty-five years ago before I knew the Lord, they’d tell you I was a completely different person. I am happy for that. At the same time, internally I feel like I am in a before picture compared to what I believe the Lord still wants to do within me and through my life. I realize that’s good. Otherwise I would be sitting in pride of how great I think I am and probably look like a Pharisee.

The after picture is our ongoing goal that we see in our hearts that God helps us paint. It is the shaping of our thoughts and desires to conform to His Word, His Will, and His purpose for our lives. It’s a path and a process in which we will continue to be changed as we pray and seek Him and purpose to live according to what He speaks to us through His Word.

Philippians 1:5 reminds us that God is there if we will have confident faith in His supply of supernatural help. “…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” As this verse reveals, it’s God who had began and will continue to work in you – that is if you have confident faith in His helping you.

An aimless and purposeless life outside of the Lord will always result in a before picture. Pressing toward God’s will for your life will help create after pictures. An after picture is not the end of all. It is actually only a step to the next after picture. What does your next after picture look like?

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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