"God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." - Romans 5:5
In the film Tender Mercies, a man and a young boy are baptized. Afterward, the boy says, "Everybody said I was gonna feel like a changed person. I guess I do feel a little different, but I don't feel a whole lot different. Do you?" The man responds: "Not yet."
It's a charming, light-hearted conversation, but it gets at something true about the Christian life. When you are saved by Jesus, or when you are baptized as a sign of your salvation, you do not instantly become a good person. We even notice that sometimes non-Christians are more kind or more generous than some Christians are.
The Bible explains that the Holy Spirit is at work in every person's life. When a person is being transformed by Jesus, the process is gradual. The person's life begins to change, to become more beautiful—and it might happen so slowly that we barely notice it. But Romans 5 promises that the Holy Spirit is at work both now and in the future, in good times and in bad. The Spirit uses even the suffering in our lives to shape us into people of perseverance, character, and hope.
If you have committed to following Jesus, you might not feel different yet. But you can trust that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.
Holy Spirit, change me to make me more like Jesus. Give me patience with your steady work in my life. Make my life a beautiful reflection of God's love for me. Amen.