After living in the Tampa area for over thirty-five years, I thought my southern accent was gone. I’m a country girl, born in Wauchula, in the center of Florida, so there is no getting away from having a southern drawl if you live there. Then yesterday, I was getting paint at Home Depot, and the guy in that department, who was obviously flirting, asked me if I was from Texas. I can’t tell you how thankful I was to have someone ask me that! That probably means my accent is much stronger than I imagined. We have so many northern transplants, plus a prominent Spanish and Italian population in Tampa; I was sure I had picked up on their accent. I’m married to a man who is both Spanish and Italian, who was born in Tampa but is as country as you can get.
We all have an upbringing that follows us around, whether northern, southern, or from another country, but as followers of Christ, our past is securely hidden within him. Through the Holy Spirit, we become transformed into his likeness, without losing ourselves, just like me moving to the city, but not losing my southern accent. In other words, you can become transformed into the likeness of Christ without losing your identity because you don’t want to appear fake. You want others to be able to recognize you, but see the change Jesus has made in your life. Lose the bad, but keep the good!
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5