Before and After

11.23.23 Devo Image

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”—1 Peter 2:9–10 (NIV)

Have you ever seen someone selling a plan, program, or diet? You see these before and after photos that are just amazing. And the person in the ad is so passionate and pumped about it! Why? Because they saw how what they’re selling changed their own life! They experienced firsthand how this new meal plan helped them get healthy, or a new shampoo brought their hair back to life, or some essential oils radically changed their mental health. (Is that what essential oils do? It was never really clear to me!) And now, they’re on a mission to help others experience the same amazing results.

Consider the passage above for a minute:

“Once you were not a people . . .”

“Once you had not received mercy . . .”

Consider also Titus 3:3 (NIV): “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.”

Ephesians 2:1, 3 (NLT): “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. . . . By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger . . .”

Ephesians 5:8 (NIV): “You were once darkness . . .”

Colossians 1:21 (NIV): “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies . . .”

Before Jesus, this is who WE were. But when we put our faith in Him, He saves us and makes us new! So as believers, we have the greatest before and after story of all time! We’re living monuments and walking billboards of the power of God to save and transform, to take us from what we were to who we are now: “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.”

What’s more, according to Scripture, we’re now forgiven and pure (1 John 1:9), His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21), loved (John 3:16), free (John 8:36), His friends (John 15:15), justified (Romans 3:24), heirs of God and coheirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), secure (2 Corinthians 1:22), blessed, chosen, adopted, redeemed, grace-lavished, unconditionally loved, accepted, and blameless (Ephesians 1).

And because of this, we have to care to share! Our former life demands that we care and our new life demands that we share! This is why we’re here, “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” because “you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8 NIV). We weren’t just in darkness, we were darkness!

Again, we have the best before and after story ever and we should be desperate and unashamedly excited to share with each and every person we encounter. Not so we can get some sort of commission or grow our following, but because we’ve been so transformed by the love of God in Christ that we want those who are still trapped in darkness to come into His wonderful light!

And guess what? You don’t need Bible college training to do this. Like the woman at the well (John 4) who immediately went into her town to tell people about Jesus, like the blind man in John 9:25 (NIV) who said, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see,” you have a story to tell. So go and tell it!

Pause: What is your before and after story—your testimony?

Practice: Write out or print the list of passages in this devotional and put them somewhere where you’ll see them every day. Read them, remind yourself of them, thank God that this is who HE has made you into through Christ Jesus, and make it a goal to share one with someone every month!

Pray: Father, who am I that You are mindful of me? Who am I that You take care of me? Apart from You, from Your love, from the grace of Your Son Jesus, and from fellowship with Your Holy Spirit, I am nothing. Father, thank You that You have made me Your treasured possession and adopted me as Your child and heir. And now, as I walk in this new light, in this new freedom and identity, help me to tell everyone I can about what You’ve done for me. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.