23rd Birthday: Do I miss my old self?
Posted on 30 Nov 2013 by Jerome Leng
I was asked that question on my 23rd birthday. That person wanted to know if I missed any part of my ‘old life’; when I was not a Christian. And to that question, I have a simple answer, “To hell with my old self!”
Perhaps at a younger stage in my life I would have said I missed the days of my darkness. I know that sin is pleasurable but it is only momentary. Shall I reserve any secret sympathy for sin in my heart? No! To hell with sin! To add more sin to one’s life is burdensome and I have many sins. It would be a great sin to desire the ways of my old life; those were the ways of the world and Satan. I would have spurned the Son of God, spit at His cross and cursed the Spirit’s work. The Son has so graciously given me this new life and would I repeat the sins of Israel? How foolish they were to grumble in the desert! They saw the wonders of God in Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea, the majestic theophany of God at Mount Sinai! Yet it was insufficient to prove to them that God was at work in bringing salvation to them. I would deserve to enter the depths of hell for repeating the sins of Israel if I ‘grumble’ for my past life. God has given me ample proof that my old life is offal; the death of His Son being the climactic expression of the gravity of my sin.
Bitterness, confusion and madness were the end results of my old life. That’s where Christ found me. I was lost. With His mighty hand, He lifted me up, breathed life into me and told me to live. I used to hate life but now I love life. Why? Because at the present I am united to Christ!
I want my present life because I have the Christ. He is all I ever need and want for in him I have life, joy and peace. There is no comfort knowing that there is enmity with God. One should go mad in desperation for a solution from God’s righteous condemnation. ‘To hell with you!’ says the Righteous Judge and the angels of heaven would agree. All sin and evil must be punished. That was the status of my old life. Do I want it back? Never! Why would I want to be bound with the chains of sin and be a prisoner of Satan?
I am freed from my death sentence. My Saviour came and took my place. I am eternally grateful. And my Saviour is risen and at present is working in me by the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, I am a new man. In fact, I am a new creation. What awaits me is everlasting newness of life. Although I am 23, I am a child of God for 11 years now. My real birth happened when I professed to believe in Jesus at the young age of 12. But deep and abiding conviction came only 5 years ago. How to explain the conflicting natures within me during those years I do not know. It was God’s grace that preserved my inner man all those years. And through much trial and testing, I am now more refined. I am not Jerome but I am Christian. God has been putting to death my old self and has been transforming me into the image of His Son.
May the Lord grant me grace to walk in His ways all the days of my life. Amen.
Jerome Leng has been a Pastor-in-Training of CERC since 2020. He graduated with a Bachelor’s and M. Div in Biblical and Theological Studies from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and was the recipient of the seminary’s prestigious Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award in 2018. He returned in December 2019 to answer what he discerned to be God’s calling for him – to be a minister of God in his homeland of Malaysia. He also serves as the youth pastor of the church. Jerome is happily married to Robyn and they have a son, Emmett.