Transformed & Transforming - The power of a transformed life

Back in the fall of 1987 I started my freshman year of high school at Pella Christian; it would prove to be a tumultuous year - I went from being one of the most popular kids in my class to a nobody, lost many of my friends, and in general felt lost, alienated, scared and alone. You would think this would make me more sensitive to others who also felt isolated and alone - but no, quite the opposite happened.

A young man from Oskaloosa named Brian started his freshman year at Pella Christian that fall as well. Brian wore black clothes, listened to “strange” music, and in general didn’t really fit the typical “Pella” mold. A group of guys in my class made Brian’s life miserable, taunting him mercilessly and giving him the nickname of “Satan.” Sad to say but I became one of his worst tormentors, and after Christmas break Brian left Pella Christian and went to school in Oskaloosa.

The summer after my freshman year I gave my life to Christ, and the way I both saw people and treated them began to radically change. Somehow my paths crossed with Brian again - we became friends, and I invited him to come to youth group and hang out in our crowd. On the weekends we often talked on the phone, and one evening shared that I was now a Christian. Brian’s response still resonates in my heart today, “I know Ryan. I can tell by the way you’ve treated me.”

The words of Jesus gain power when the world can see them come alive in the people who claim to follow him. There’s just no way around it - we’re either actively witnessing for Jesus by the way we live or turning people away, and there’s no greater turn-off to the gospel than people who say one thing with their mouths and then say another with how they live.

To this day my heart aches at the way I treated Brian back in the fall of 1987 - but I’m so, so glad that wasn’t the end of the story, and I’m so thankful for the testimony Christ has given me, evidence of a life changed by the gospel. That’s the theme today from my devotional from “Our Daily Bread” titled “Transformed & Transforming.” I love the summary statement: “Your transformation by God brings transformation to others.” When God changes our lives, it in turn can change the lives of others as well. May our lives be a living, breathing testimony to the truth of God’s Word today!