At my church, we have a weekly puppet show put on by the youth for the younger kids. The skits are cute and funny, with a Biblical message. Part of one week’s skit has been bouncing around in my head lately. In it, a boy and girl are having a discussion about spiritual gifts that goes something (sort of–this is from memory!) like this:
“I just don’t know if I have a spiritual gift,” sighs Willie, the boy puppet.
“Don’t be silly,” the girl puppet, Betsy, replies. “Everyone has a spiritual gift. As a matter of fact, I have three,” she adds rather proudly.
“I don’t suppose one of those gifts is humility,” Willie says sarcastically, to which he receives the following surprised response:
“Why, yes! How did you know?”
Right on cue, everyone in the room laughs. Holding my puppet in the air, I cringe inwardly. I may just be playing the role of Betsy for a few minutes, but in that moment I think we had quite a bit in common.
Growing up, I always considered myself to be rather selfless. In fact, I was rather proud of it (I know, I know). The truth, however, was that I didn’t think of others quite as much as I thought I did. A couple years would go by and I would look back on my life, thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe how self-centered I used to be! I’m so glad I’m not like that now.”
Eventually–that is, in this past year–it occurred to me that this was an ongoing cycle. I would never be as selfless as I thought I was, and there would always come a day when I realized just how self-centered I had really been at any given time.
I also realized that this was okay.
Here’s the thing–am I a rather self-centered person? Yes! (Aren’t we all?) But the beauty of it is that I’m not as self-centered as I was last year or six years ago, and I (hopefully!) will be more selfless next year and in the time to follow.
We as humans are not unchanging. And we as Christians are continually changing to be more like our Savior. We grow. We blossom in love, purity, joy, understanding, and selflessness.
We cannot fall into the trap of becoming proud of the person that Christ has made us, a person who is in fact still changing, still growing! Nor should we become consumed with guilt over what we may have done in the past. I’m definitely prone to wallowing in my mistakes, but we should rejoice knowing that Christ has made us new, and that He is transforming us into His image.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)
Rejoice! We are new creations, becoming more like Christ with every step we take in our walk with Him. And I know that one day I can look back and see, yes, a rather self-centered young woman–but also one who is striving to become more like Him with every breath.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2, NLT)