So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.Genesis 1:27
Hello to me, from me. Weird sentence, but have you ever wondered who me (or you) really is? I’ve been challenged about that over the years, but never moreso than in 2014 being locked up in jail. That was not me, it couldn’t be, it must have been someone else.
But looking back now over the past 6 years, I realize how much me, or I, have changed. As my transformation began in jail I started to wonder if the person I was becoming was the real me, or was I putting on a show for everyone, including me? I’d gone through life dabbling with religion, and you can read about that by clicking here, but I’d never really followed through with it, but here I was in jail, not only reading and studying God’s Word, but I was bringing it to others too.
Late at night while I lay in bed, I pondered the question that was on other people’s minds, especially my wife Judy, is this really me? And the only way to really find out if this new me was the real me was to get out and prove it to everyone, including me!
So on November 7th 2014 when I walked out of that jail, the real me was on display for the very first time. For seven months we’d been separate but now we were together again. We were both in tears as we began our relationship anew, and I could prove that the me who had been in letters and phone calls for the past few months was the me who was going to be around for a long time (forever!).
I’d entered jail as an angry man but had told my family that man was gone and now it was time for me to shine. I’d grown to understand Biblical love, and wanted to show that love to everyone. The first and most important person to me was my wife, Judy.
She’d noticed the changes in my letters and I was quoting from the Bible for the first time in my life. She had been raised in a Catholic household, and recently had been attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church without my knowledge. I’d really only found out about it while I was in jail. Until now, we’d never had any serious discussions about religion, but that had all changed over the past few months. Letters and phone calls were one thing, face to face was something completely different. And in the first few days, I could see the change in me seemed real, I began to think this new me was here to stay.
We began to attend church on a regular basis, and not only attend, but became a part of the church. They encouraged me to take part in the service. They answered my questions and involved me in their discussions. The Pastor was not only a Pastor, but he was a friend also. And never once did anyone in church judge me on my past, which follows what Matthew 7:1 teaches. And I loved them for it. They were becoming my new family.
About a year and a half later I attended Bible Camp and witnessed baptisms taking place in the river. Some were performed by my Pastor/friend, and some were performed by the Pastor who had come to visit me in jail. At that moment I knew that I had to be baptized and I knew that it had to be in the river, and I immediately knew it was going to happen at the camp the following year.
That decision was the final piece of the puzzle in the new me. The decision to be baptized was monumental in my mind because it proved to me and others around me that the change was real. Part of the baptism ceremony is dying to self as you go into the water and being reborn in Christ as you come out of the water. That is why sprinkled water and infant baptism doesn’t work. You must die to self!
So I’m now almost 6 years down from my becoming the new me. And even though Satan put a pretty good attempt at trying to drag me back in the last year, I continue to grow stronger in Christ every day. The new me doesn’t exist any more, there is only me, and people I meet know that I’m different than I was, but in a good way. I’m on a mission to bring people along with me as Jesus commanded us to do in the Great Commission. I hope that you’ll join me.
That is a beautiful testimony, Paul