Jesus, Righteousness, Salvation, She is Me Series, Sin

She is Me: Lydia

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER youCheers to being a WOMAN!

In Need of a COMPLETE Makeover

For much of my childhood, I attended church either with my mother or my grandmother. At the age of 13, I was baptized and it seemed like I had arrived to my spiritual destination. I loved going to church for the ‘feeling’ and chills that the experience gave me and that was pretty much the depth of my spirituality. Over the course of my teenage years, I learned to pray and carried that practice away to college with me. I learned what it meant to worship God and made sure that was a part of my life as well. So, I was praying to God, worshipping Him, going to church and doing extremely well in school. Surely, God was well pleased with my life, right?! Well maybe He would have been if all of those wonderful things weren’t diluted with drunkenness, promiscuity, fornication, drugs, lies, hatred, bitterness, spitefulness, revenge—this list could go on for several miles. I had a form of godliness, but it was not pleasing to God. Here is where Lydia’s world meets mine.

And on the Sabbath day we went outside the [city’s] gate to the bank of the river where we supposed there was an [accustomed] place of prayer, and we sat down and addressed the women who had assembled there.

One of those who listened to us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a dealer in fabrics dyed in purple. She was [already] a worshiper of God, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (Acts 16:13-15 AMP)

From this short passage of scripture, we can tell that Lydia knew and worshipped God just like me. She was at a prayer meeting, so prayer was definitely a part of her lifestyle similar to mine. She also made an acceptable living by selling fine textiles; likewise, I’ve always excelled in school and held great jobs. With such an awesome resume`, what was she missing? Why were we so much alike?  Well, the fact that God had to open her heart to receive Paul’s message indicates that she obviously hadn’t accepted Jesus and allowed His Spirit to reside there…and neither had I. How do I know? Long before Jesus made His earthly appearance, God made a promise to mankind: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36-25-27 NIV) If His Spirit were residing INSIDE of me, change would have been evident. Both Lydia and I had a form of godliness but had been denying the power of Jesus (See 2 Timothy 3:5).

It doesn’t tell us exactly what Paul shared with Lydia on the riverbank, but I can imagine that it was similar to what he had preached before: “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:32-33, 38)

Praise God that our stories did not end before we really knew Jesus! Shortly before graduating college, God truly opened my heart to receive the changing power of His Spirit. I confessed, again, that Jesus would be Lord over my life and that time I truly meant it! My family was changed as a result of my change and so it was with Lydia. “And when she was baptized along with her household, she earnestly entreated us, saying, If in your opinion I am one really convinced [that Jesus is the Messiah and the Author of salvation] and that I will be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay. And she induced us [to do it]… So [Paul and Silas] left the prison and went to Lydia’s house; and when they had seen the brethren, they warned and urged and consoled and encouraged them and departed.” (Acts 16:15,40 AMP) Not only were Lydia and her family saved, but she opened her home so that Paul and Silas could proclaim the Gospel there. It’s amazing to understand just how much of an impact Lydia’s acceptance to the Gospel had on multitudes of other people. Your obedience and willingness to accept Jesus’ transformative power in your life is connected to so many other people’s destinies!

Ladies, consider this a warning alarm! It’s time to get serious and stop playing church. Yes, your outward appearance may resemble Jesus, but are you sure that you are truly a joint heir to God’s treasures? If you cannot answer yes to that question, it’s not too late for you! He has given you another day to make it right. Jesus is waiting with open arms to greet you. He welcomed Lydia and I with our distorted, self-righteous views and I know that He will welcome you too!

To welcome Jesus into your heart, read the following prayer aloud:

Dear Daddy,

I recognize that I am a mess and that I have messed up. I ask that You forgive me for the things that I have done that were not pleasing to You. Forgive me for the things that I realize were sins and even those that I did not realize were sins. I believe that Jesus died specifically for me, but on the third day He rose again. By that belief alone, I am saved. I ask that You soften my heart to Your Spirit that now dwells inside of me. I want to be made into a new creature. I want to be more and more like you each day. Thank You for this gift of salvation! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

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Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to let Jesus give you a complete makeover! It’s not enough just to ‘look’ like Him; ask for the complete package that includes making you act, think, speak and walk like Him!

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.