I’ve just had a family tree album shared with me online, and in amongst the photos and documents was one of me when I was 17. I remember it well because it’s from a local newspaper, and I’m seen playing a tenor horn during my time with the Flintshire Youth Orchestra. It’s fair to say that I’ve changed quite a bit in 49 years. The photo will now prove what no one believes of this bald man; at 17 I had nice hair, and lots of it.
Seeing old photos brings back memories, and this one especially because it coincides with the time when Jesus became my Saviour. Another year and I’ll have been a Christian for 50 years. It’s interesting to look back and to consider my Christian life. It’s fair to say there have been some tough times, Christians are not exempt from those. Many tears have flowed and pain has hurt, but there have been wonderful blessings too. Children, grandchildren, deep friendships, a good career have all been mine, but they are blessings we all share. What has made my life so fruitful is living it in the service of God.
The Bible says of Christians, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (1) The word ‘image’ can also be translated as ‘likeness’, so over the years I should become like Jesus. Let me make it clear what that means. It doesn’t mean I end up looking like Jesus, nor does it mean that I will become like God and be perfect. What it means is that something of the character of Christ should develop in me. I should develop a humility about me, no boastfulness. There should be kindness and compassion shown to people. I should care more for others needs than my own. I should love the unloved. It’s not for me to say that’s how I am, but that’s what should happen. All I can say is that my life has been fruitful in ways I could never have imagined. At 17 I was lost and anxious about my future. Since becoming a Christian I’ve had no uncertainty about my future, you don’t need to when you can simply trust Jesus to take care of you. I should say, of course, that I’m not perfect and never will be in this life. Jesus was the only perfect man. There has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone like him.
This world is an anxious world. It always has been, but even more so during the Covid crisis. I can guarantee that Jesus brings peace in times like these. It’s wonderful knowing that your life is safe in the hand of God who is looking after you, and who won’t let anything happen to you outside his will. Wouldn’t you like to enjoy a peace like this? You can, but you have to know where to find it. You’ll find it at a cross. 2000 years ago the Jesus who transforms lives gave up his own. Although he had done no wrong he was executed as a criminal, but in so doing he was being punished for our sins. The Bible clearly says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (2) Sin made us God’s enemy and stopped us having a relationship with him. When he died for our sins Jesus removed the barrier. “While we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.” (3) There is no reason why you can’t have your sins forgiven, find peace with God, develop the character of Christ, and have a fulfilling life. It’s all available to you if you simply trust in Jesus, be sorry about the sins that led to his death, live for him and enjoy his love for you.
David in the Bible said, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken.” (4) That’s my story too. After 49 years I can say that I’ve never been forsaken, never been failed by God, never let down by him. He has been my constant source of strength, joy and peace.
- 2 Corinthians 3:18
- Romans 5:8
- Romans 5:10
- Psalm 37:25