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You Used To

Scripture: Colossians 3:7 CEB

“You used to live this way, when you were alive to these things.”

I will remember it like it was yesterday for the rest of my life. There are some things in life that are just that powerful. Once you have experienced them you are different, changed, and transformed. You would think this experience would be the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life. You would think it might be my wedding day or the birth of my children. It is none of these things and yet is interrelated to all of them. There have been many days over my lifetime that are memorable, but this day tops them all. It is the day where so many things came into focus and yet there remained a vast mystery. It was a day of clarity and yet a day where I was increasingly uncertain of much. You are probably wondering what happened on this day to make it so memorable. I have come to know this day as the Day of Assurance. I have told the story so many times over the years and it never grows old. The day of which I am writing was the day I understood that Jesus was my Savior. It is the day I understood completely that Jesus died for me. It is the day I received the gift of the assurance of my salvation. It was a very normal day by all accounts. I was working at my job and doing what I did every time I worked. It was a Wednesday. I was about halfway through my shift when I began to think about what had happened on Sunday. The prayer I had prayed and the experience of turning over control of my life to Jesus. I had been processing it all week. I was trying to understand what it meant and what I needed to do moving forward. As I thought about this the Holy Spirit just grabbed me and I thought, “I am different!” As I stood there at work I realized that following that prayer on Sunday morning I hadn’t cussed at all, not once (this was highly unusual). The following thought then went through my mind, “Jesus really did die for me! Jesus really is my Savior! Jesus really will, and has, changed my life!” I had assurance that Jesus died for me, was raised from the dead for me, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father interceding for me. Hallelujah! When I read Paul’s words in Colossians 3:7 it means something incredibly important. I used to live the way Paul describes, well some of it. I used to be a person who lived his life without Jesus. I used to seek to do things my way. I was only concerned with what I thought was important. My moment of assurance, that has lasted 32 years so far, changed that. I was no longer interested in the things I was interested in before that Sunday. I was alive to new things and no longer alive to the old desires. For me, I have been chasing after the things of Jesus ever since. Every new day is a day to seek after Jesus and to try and live for Him. Assurance is this incredibly freeing reality that Christ is with me. The power and person of the Holy Spirit is dwelling inside of me just as Jesus promised. You used to live this way, when you were alive to these things. What are you alive to today? Are you alive to the new possibilities that Jesus will open to you? Are you alive to the leading of the Holy Spirit today? I pray that today, Ash Wednesday, you will leave behind any sense of following your own will. I pray that we will leave the way we used to be and come alive to all that Christ has for us. Prayer: Holy God, without you we are nothing. We are lost in our own sin and desire to do things our way. We desire to come alive to your way and your will. We desire to experience the fullness of Christ. Lead us by your Holy Spirit to make our old ways the way we used to be. Fill us with the desire to come alive to what you desire. Amen.

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