The Way We Were!

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:3-5 NIV)

Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
And if we had the chance to do it all again
Just tell me, tell me, would we, would we?
Could we, could we?

Memories may be beautiful and yet
So many memories too painful to remember
The way we were

When Barbara Streisand sang this song, it ignited thoughts of returning to a past time, understanding the good and the painful; however, when aligned with this passage of scripture, we are reminded that all of us indeed have a past, and some of it was not too pretty, and yet–we tend to criticize others for traveling the same path, we once took.
Why are we so critical of those who not have yet been introduced to Jesus Christ and certainly have not had time to develop a relationship with Him? It is easier to understand those living in sin who do not know Him more than it is acceptable for those who proclaim to know Him.  The saddest situation that one can see is for born-again Christians to support and promote a lifestyle contrary to God’s Word. It would appear that they are more interested in returning to “the way they were” before knowledge of Christ and in keeping others in a position to know God’s wrath, rather than His grace.
When Paul talks about our being dead in our transgressions–He references a point in our lives when we were spiritually dead before becoming spiritually alive--ready to receive what Holy Spirit has for us. Unfortunately, for some–being spiritually dead also lead to physical death caused by addictions and rebelliousness and a refusal to do what is right.
We see people on a daily basis whose countenances are bereft of hope and joy. They are simply going through the motions–not really enjoying life, and barely making it to see another day, with the same attitude. If we are truthful with ourselves, we recognize us–in some of those people we see–but thanks to someone who was praying for us or even noticing our bleakness–someone who cared enough to talk to us about Jesus, we are now living with hope and joy and we can smile for no reason, laugh out loud with a heartiness that is infectious and love people–no matter who they are. Thank God we are no longer the way we were, but we have been saturated with the grace of God, without regard to our former ways and we know who has redeemed us and saved us from ourselves.
Today, let’s take the time and remember the way we were–before grace--and determine within ourselves to share God’s love with others so they, too can know salvation through His Grace and have their spirits quickened through Holy Spirit. If we remember our journey to grace; our desire should be for everyone to make it to receive God’s grace for themselves before He returns. That’s love!
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