Have you ever looked at a photograph?


Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself as a kid, and remembered the exact moment the picture was taken. This morning while I was feeding the pets, I looked at a picture on my refrigerator of my little brother, and I as boys, and did just that. It occurred to me that having your picture taken in the 70’s may not have been as big a deal as it was in the first part of the century, but in this century it isn’t a big deal at all. Back then Polaroid instant photographs weren’t truly instant, and they were expensive to take compared to taking digital photographs with your phone, and having them printed.

I wonder if people now, since they take so many pictures, and selfies, have the same demarcations of the times in their lives? Does it carry the same significance now as it did then? I remember that exact moment, when dad was in the kitchen with his fancy new fangled instant camera, and how we were on the counter in the kitchen, and I remember our clothes that we wore that day, and the wrestling match that we were engaged in. Rough housing occurred often in our house. I remember the thoughts I was having, and how my thinking is basically the same today. I was a smaller, more emotionally undisciplined, version of myself today. I had the same thought processes, and their complexions, that I have now.

The only differences between the ways that I as a miniature savage man thought then, and later in my life, was that I became more civilized. By that, I mean the savage was more concealed, and the exterior has become more socially acceptable. For those of you who know me, I didn’t say that I was socially acceptable, simply more so than when I was a child. You can extrapolate from there.

This taming of the savage man took copious amounts of work, and discipline from my father. He truly loved us. He trained us to control the savage within. If he had not been there, I shudder to think of what kind of monster I would have become. Our mother was a perpetual source of compassion, love, and forgiveness. Her little angels could do no wrong, and even if we did, she was the first to tell us, “There is nothing you could do to make me stop loving you.” I remember challenging her by asking, “What if I robbed someone?” She would say, “I’d still love you.” I’d say, “What if I ended up in prison?” She’d say, “I’d still love you.” Even when I asked, “What if I killed someone?” She still said, “I’d still love you.”

That moment captured in the photograph is a time capsule. I can look at it, and go right back to the moment. In all of the copious pictures taken today, I doubt that is true for most. I’m sure there are some exceptional times captured, but I doubt the same level of attachment is there.

There are many other snapshots of my life that weren’t captured on film, or by digital image. Many of them are just as vivid, while more range in quality of recollection. The most significant one, above all others, is a time when I was sitting in front of the computer with my headphones on, watching some Paul Washer sermons. He was talking about a man in Alaska who had cancer, and how he spent time with him going over the Bible. There was another where he was speaking to some young people, it was all very convicting. I remember being crushed by the weight of my sin, and being moved to tears. It was at that moment I knew I was born again from above. I experienced real repentance, and faith.

From that moment on, it has been a war between the new man, and that civilized savage who still lingers in my unredeemed flesh. Some days it wins, and I’m aware of it. Many times it wins, and I’m unaware of it. Other times I win, but it isn’t because of me. I’m weak. Christ has won all. He is the victor, and because of His victory over death, and sin, I can stand in faith of the promise I have from Him for grace, mercy, forgiveness, and to those there is no end.

Romans 8:2-11 (NASB) “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do,  weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”