I intended to post my new Chicken Sliders recipe today. I’m eager to share it with you and I will but God has another plan and I need to go with that. I hope you don’t mind!
It started as I was writing in my journal after my Bible study. I’m doing one on the book of Jonah and loving it: Immersed: Experiencing the Patience, Provision, and Presence of God by Katie Orr. Check out the study and her blog, you will be blessed
What I’m seeing is this: God is in the change business. We give him our old, He gives us His new. Just like a caterpillar who starts out life slow and ugly and many-legged but God knows that’s not all there is. He imbues each caterpillar with the capacity for change, the ability to become a butterfly. But for change to manifest the butterfly has to come away from life for awhile, wrap herself in a cocoon, be still and let the transformation happen deep inside where no one can see.
In the fullness of time, she breaks free of the cocoon and she’s a different entity, completely transformed. God changes her into something altogether else, a new creature. She’s unrecognizable from the caterpillar who was. The ugly legs are gone and she’s sprouted colorful, glorious wings. She can cover so much more ground with those wings than she ever could even with her many legs and feet. It’s quite amazing really and only God has the power to do this.
It’s taken me a long time, years actually, but I’m not who I was and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I’m a new creature in Christ. The desire to sin is waning. Oh, the capacity is still there and temptation rears it’s ugly head in me like anybody else but God is quenching the desire to follow through. Not to say I’m perfect by any means, just ask my husband! But my reaction when I’m hurt or betrayed is not what it was. I still think about it but I don’t act on it like the old days.
Another thing I’ve noticed lately. My desire to choose doubt or fear has been replaced by trust. I’ve doubted and feared plenty but I’ve come to know after more than three decades of knowing Him,
they. do. not. work.
When we get saved we receive Jesus’ nature deep inside, a holy exchange takes place and we get His faith, His righteousness, His love, replacing our evil nature. Over time we realize how deeply we need Him, how hopeless we are without Him. There is much trial and error but keep in mind it’s a walk, not a sprint.
He sanctifies and purifies and though we have all we need at the moment of true conversion, it takes time to comprehend just exactly what we have, it’s height and depth and width and how to live and move and breath in it.
Yes, we are all broken, many-legged and messy, we all start there but, and this is a big but…
…it’s not where He leaves us.
He takes our broken mess and in the flash of a nano-second says,
“I know all about it and I came for you anyway.”
We can stay a big broken mess as long as we want, free will and all that but He doesn’t call us to stay there. He didn’t die for us to celebrate our mess. He died to give us the opportunity to become like Him.
And He’s not a mess.
We can let Him put all those broken pieces back together to become something new and beautiful. Our own messy masterpiece. He doesn’t tell us to forget what broke us or caused our sticky mess. No.
He just takes away it’s power to define us.
He knows our history. He just won’t let it define our destiny.
I only know one way to become more like Jesus and less like my mess and that’s by spending time in His presence. I need to know Him. And I only know Him by taking the time to just be still. And stillness is hard. Harder today than ever. Hard to squelch the voices clamoring for our attention, hard to be okay doing nothing more than sitting in His presence leaving our laundry list of needs and problems, wants and issues behind. Just being still.
Because the stillness brings the change.
Eventually, we can look back on our former mess and embrace it for all it taught us.
We might even come to be grateful for it as we let Him cleanse us of it’s power. We learn to forgive. We learn to kiss the stones that bloodied our feet and love those who do not deserve our love. Because He did.
And we learn to forgive God for not being there (we wrongly thought) and letting us get broken in the first place.
Years pass and our mess loses it’s power to define us. We don’t need to stay there because the point of following Him is to become more like Him.
And He’s not a mess.
Year by year we’re transformed into His image. We become what we think about, (As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7) and we start seeing the family resemblance. We can give power to our mess or strip it of everything that defines us, it’s our choice.
It’s time to stop being a broken mess because Jesus didn’t die to make us ‘pretty messes’. He makes us new creatures. You are NOT who you were!
Our messes and broken places are merely an illustration of His transforming power and redeeming love. Your life, your past, your sin, your transformation–all become an epistle written and read by men and your messy past becomes His masterpiece of grace.
You were a mess. You now are redeemed.
You were broken. You now are a new creation.
You were a sinner. You now are forgiven.
Which doesn’t mean you won’t struggle or have bad days or be tempted or sin ever again. You will. I do. But.
We can walk in newness of life, leaving our mess behind.
We can live how He lived.