Before and After
And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3:10
My opiate addiction dramatically reduced my motivation to exercise. While using, all I wanted to do was sit around and eat. I’ve never been slender, but I used to run marathons. Then, in my drug use, I just let it go, putting on a lot of weight. When I got sober, part of recovery was reversing that process. I struggled alone initially and then, eventually joined a gym about four years ago. Now, being slightly obsessive, I go to the gym five or six days a week.
I go for my physical and mental health. I don’t think I go solely because of how I want to look. No one wants to look out-of-shape though, so I’m certainly pleased that the gym has had some effect on my physical appearance. No one would confuse me with an Olympic athlete, but if you saw me now and six years ago, you’d observe some transformation. If however, I looked the exact same as I did six years ago, if I hadn’t lost any fat or gained any muscle, then you’d be right in thinking I was wasting my time at the gym. I don’t go to the gym only for outward appearance, but if my time and effort at the gym is worthwhile, it will necessarily have some observable effect on me.
This same principle applies to God’s presence in our lives. If we know God, if we follow him, if we’re transformed by him, then our relationship with him will make a difference that others can obviously observe. In today’s passage, God used Peter and John to heal a handicapped man, who subsequently praised God exuberantly in the temple. Those in attendance knew the previously lame man and could see the dramatic transformation. They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
We’re not done with transformation. We haven’t arrived at perfection. If we truly follow God though, and he is working in our lives, others should be able to see some results of that process. If those around us don’t know that we have any faith in God, we may be doing faith wrong. I’m not saying we should all be healed of every illness. I’m saying that if we’re daily abandoning our way for the new life in Christ, that should be evident to anyone watching.
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