Everyone loves a good rags to riches story. And I love em just as much, I really liked Lebron James’ “More Than a Game.” The film chronicled James’ life as a disadvantaged boy with a single mother and finished with him emerging as the superstar athlete we all know today. Rags to Riches stories reach further than just athletes. Oprah was impregnated after being raped before revolutionizing talk shows, Jim Carey used to live in a camper, working in a tire factory before becoming a successful actor, and J.K. Rowling was on welfare before hitting it big as the author of Harry Potter.
I asked myself, why do these stories interest and amaze us so much? And I think it’s because we give our pasts way too much power over our present, so we’re shocked that disadvantaged people actually made it.
We say….”You were raped? You should be scared, mistrusting, and unable to form normal relationships for the rest of your life. You grew up poor? Ok your options are athlete, drug dealer, or blue collar. You lost a parent as a child? You should suffer from depression, going through life making bad decisions due to a lack of guidance in your childhood.”
Based off their past, we label folk as damaged goods, in need of anti-depressants and an image coach…how could someone with that kind of past become successful? Sadly many allow these negative predictions that are based off their pasts to prevent them from finding joy, healing, and success in their present.
But to those who are in Christ………. (“My, my, my!” cue the organ!)
You see, Jesus was the original rags to riches story. His ‘E True Hollywood Story’ would have Him being born in a cow’s feeding trough, literally wrapped in rags. They would follow Him as He lived homeless, persecuted, and rejected. Yet in the end, E would find Jesus glorified and elevated to such a position that He sits today at the right hand of God with all power in His hand (Hebrews 1:3).
The Bible says when we are in Christ, believing in His work on the cross and setting Him as Lord over our lives, then we become “a new creation, old things have passed away and all things have become new- 2 Corinthians 5:17”
I believe wholeheartedly that one of the things that passes away is your past, you become a new person. You are transformed by the blood of Christ, given a new identity in Him. He is your joy, your daily bread, motivating you to press on, and through Him all things are made new and whole. Through Him all things are made possible, even overcoming your past. You are a conqueror. Christ has given you freedom, why let the past hold you back in your present?
I don’t know what your story is or what you’ve had to overcome in life. It seems like on some level everyone has their own rags to riches story. But I do know that if you are in Christ, and He is in you, then His power is capable of taking you to places that you never imagined. If you are in Christ, be assured that you will be elevated to a place in heaven just as He was. Elevated to heaven!!! It’s that kind of power!!!
I know I’ve got my own story. And I’m not funny like Jim Carey, don’t have Lebron’s talent, can’t write like Rowling, and don’t have the people skills to run a talk show like Oprah, but I have Jesus and as long as I cling to Him, He can take my raggedy life and turn it into something that both He and I find rich. Trust in Jesus Christ and be transformed!