If you've never been involved in the industries before, then you decide to 'get into' horses or 'get into' rodeo, it changes you.
You suddenly start wearing different clothes, you learn new terms and expressions that go with what you're learning about the horse, I mean, not everyone knows what withers are or what a honda is on a rope. The people you spend time with change as you surround yourself with others who share your interest that you want to learn from or ride or rodeo with.
Friends and family will notice the changes when horses or rodeo become important to you and begin making it more a part of your every day life.
When we become Christians, it's the same thing, only more. It isn't an interest we're engaged in, it's a complete transformation. Once we have a saving faith in Jesus, God no longer sees us for our sins that He must judge. Instead, He sees us through the sacrifice Jesus made, as perfect, extended grace for the mistakes He knows we will continue to make.
Ephesians 4:22-24 To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
There's lots that can be unpacked in these two verses but we're going to just focus on what Paul is saying in his letter about being the new self.
God no longer sees the old self that Paul refers to. The old self is corrupt and condemned. The new self is seen as righteous and holy. Really simplified, it means we're now seen as perfect. This is one of the verses where we come to understand this is how God sees us once we are saved.
Again, it doesn't mean we are perfect, it means God sees us that way despite mistakes we might continue to make. We start a process of becoming 'sanctified' which means being made more like Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
We understand that it's through the Holy Spirit that we begin to change by what's described as 'the sanctifying work of the Spirit.”
Our friends and family might start seeing changes in us over night or gradually. For the person who decides to take up horsemanship or team roping, they choose to pursue those interests but as a Christian, the Spirit begins to work out those changes in us. We start to study our Bibles to learn more about how to be more like Jesus and to understand everything God has for us in His word. We connect with other believers we find at work or in rodeo or the sales barn and we find ourselves learning and spending time with them.
Cowboys of the Cross is a rodeo/bull riding ministry that leads cowboy church services at events and maintains an online presence to share the gospel and make disciples among the ranch and rodeo community. They can be found at CowboysOfTheCross.com