The time has come.
My 20th high school reunion. I cannot attend because I live in Asia! But, nevertheless, the reunion definitely has me reflecting... reflecting on the old me. I am not sure that many people from high school would really recognize me. Oh, they would know my face and my name, but I am not the same person at all.
I know what you are thinking. Everybody changes. They mature. That's true, but that's not what I am talking about.
You see, in high school I wasn't really a Christian. I carried the title of Christian around. I even went to church. When I was 9 years old I even said a prayer and was baptized. But I had no idea of how to really become a Christian.
And that's why there was no change in my life.
When I was younger, I was so shy and insecure. I tried to mask it by pretending to be confident and outgoing, but inside was a different story. I was hurting. I hated life. I hated myself. My family was falling apart, and I had no joy. I was pretty good at pasting on a smile.
High school was actually very difficult for me. No, not the academic part... though Pre-Calculus threw me for a loop! I actually made great grades for the most part.
But while I was in high school, I didn't understand my value.
My value was in my appearance...
So I wanted to be skinny enough to be pretty. I would go days without eating. I would often wear a little less clothing than a girl should because I wanted to be noticed.
My value was in friends and boyfriends. I wanted to be liked. I actually had some really sweet friends in high school. But I was a terrible friend! Our friendships were always based on if they made me happy, or what they could do for me. The moment they tried to caution me on some crazy decisions I was making??? I turned my back on them pretty quickly!
I was rarely without a boyfriend. I even dated a few guys I really didn't even like! But my value was in being wanted. As long as I was wanted by a guy, I felt valuable.
I wanted to always make good grades, because my parents' approval made me feel valuable... but when I made my first "C" and cried??? They laughed. They didn't understand why it was so important to me to make good grades. My value tumbled in that one grade.
I was always very competitive in anything I did... and when I lost? My value plummeted.
And then came Jason. Oh, I tried to make my value in him, but Jason did something totally unexpected. He invited me to church. At his church, I heard the Gospel and it rocked my world. They preached the Bible, and the more I learned, the more I realized that the reason I had no joy and no peace was because I had placed my value in faulty things. There will always be someone prettier. One day (like now) I would get old... gain some weight. One day I would lose some friends or boyfriends... I would make bad grades or I would lose a game. When my value was attached to those things, my value crumbled very easily.
But the Gospel showed me that my value was linked to the price someone was willing to pay for me.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
God the Father was willing to pay for me the most valuable possession He had. He paid His Son, Jesus. You see, I had a problem. That problem was that I was a sinner and God is holy. His holiness demands that sin be judged. And I definitely deserved that judgment! I couldn't even pretend to be a "pretty good person!"
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23
I realized that I could never be "good enough" to make up for sin. No one can! And so I was in trouble...
"For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 6:23
God isn't just this Nice Man Upstairs who can overlook sin. If He overlooks sin, it negates His holiness! Sin must be judged, and the payment is death... eternal separation from Him in a place of torment.
But then I realized how precious I am to God...
"... but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23
He cannot overlook sin, but Someone holy and sinless could pay for my sin in my place.
When I realized what my sin cost the Lord, sin became very ugly to me. I repented and accepted the price Jesus paid in my place.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-19
I called out and asked Him to forgive me. I admitted I had been trying to be good enough, and that I would NEVER be good enough. I knew the only hope I had was to accept that Christ paid my debt. I was sick of being "religious." I wasn't even good at that! I wanted a relationship with Him! I didn't want to be His enemy anymore. So I cried out to Him.
And when I did that, I was no longer the same "me." My desires changed. My appetites began changing. I had a joy and peace I never had before. Pleasing Him became my motivation. Why? It wasn't just that I got older and matured.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
I have no desire to be around the drinking and party scene... because I know it doesn't glorify Him.
I don't want to focus on attracting people, being beautiful, and making them like me. He has put it in my heart to point people to Him... not me.
My words and conversation and dress began changing. The places I went began changing. The friends I had began changing. My life changed because I had changed.
I don't put my value in cheap, temporary things anymore. My value is so much deeper than that. He loves me and was willing to give His life for me.
And when I sin, it grieves me because I know it grieves Him. But it never changes His love for me.
"We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
I am not the same person I use to be.
I am not sure my high school reunion would be a reunion for me even if I could go. Most of these people have never met the new "me." They would be meeting me for the first time.
And I would hope that I would be meeting some new "thems," too.