The other day I was looking back at some old pictures of Chloe. Some of them were more than a year old. If it weren't for me or Amy in the pictures with her, I would think I was looking at someone else's child, not mine. I was amazed at how much Chloe had changed in such a short a time.
Now, let me clarify something before we go any further: I've always thought she's the most beautiful little girl in the world. But as she's gotten older, she's gotten even more beautiful!
On a daily basis, I never noticed the change. She always looked like the same child. But as I looked at these pictures taken some time ago, they revealed to me how much she had, in fact, changed.
I think about some of the changes I've gone through over time. My own facial characteristics have changed. My stomach characteristics have changed (Hey, I'm a Baptist minister - we eat).
But of all the changes I've undergone, whether good or bad, the one change I hope I've made above all others is a spiritual change.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." That's Paul's way of saying the longer we walk with the Lord, the more he's going to change us so that we reflect his image. Not a physical image, mind you, but a spiritual one.
I hope I can look back over my life as a Christian and see that I've matured in my faith. I hope I can look back and see that today I reflect the image of Christ more than I did yesterday, last week or last year. And I pray that change will continue to take place. I hope that tomorrow I'll reflect the image of Christ more than I do today.
Many Christians have the same desire to grow and change with each passing day. Yet they become discouraged when they don't see it happening as quickly as they think it ought to.
Well, why should our spiritual growth and changes be any different than our physical growth and changes?
Let's do a little self-examination. Think back to a year ago. Are you at the same place in your Christian walk today as you were back then? Or have you matured? Have you grown?
I'm willing to bet you're not the same person. How do I know? Because of something Max Lucado said in his book, "Just Like Jesus." He said, "God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus."
You may not notice much of a change in your own life on a daily basis, and it can be discouraging. But sometimes when you take a moment to reflect, you realize that you're not the same person you used to be. Your heavenly father has been working in your life to change you, to mold you, to transform you into the person he wants you to become.
And that's a pretty awesome thing, isn't it?
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville.