Sunday, August 21, 2011

God is Not a Short Order Cook

The hair on the back of my neck prickles whenever I hear the word “just” in a spiritual conversation.
“Just trust in Jesus.” Or how about this one? “You just need the Lord’s peace.” It isn’t that these statements aren’t true; they often come right out of the Bible.  Rather it’s the reality that simple almost never equates with easy.  How I want it to be easy.  The Bible says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)  What Paul doesn’t say is, “And that transformation is an ongoing, often difficult life process so you’d better get used to it.” I don’t want it to be a process. I want an event! One big moment and it’s over. All done. Alas I am never in the process of being micro waved; instead it’s always the marinade, the slow cook for me.

I’ve been thinking about the entry I wrote on forgiveness. The moment when it all came together and I felt truly free was amazing. But that wasn’t really an event, and I felt like I made it sound like a one-time thing.  In reality, it was a very long process, like most of my spiritual growth.

The truth is, I’ve had to learn that my faith isn’t about doing the right set of things to make God happy and earn my place. My faith is about becoming like Christ. My Bible isn’t a thing to do on my checklist; it is the blueprint whereby I learn what God looks like.  This life process is really about becoming like Him, being transformed into His image and likeness (2 Corin. 3:18)

I hate to admit this because it doesn’t sound spiritual at all, but I don’t really like going through the process of transformation. It makes me feel stupid that it takes me so long. What’s wrong with me that I can’t just repent and get over it? I feel ugly, the way I hang onto my sin and struggle to let it go. I don’t like the pain of facing and dealing with it either. But the alternative is worse.  I can’t stand having distance between me and God.  I am unashamedly addicted to His presence. That and the fact that when I quit focusing on my failure and focus instead on Him, I realize how much He loves me and believes in me and it gives me the strength to keep going.  It also helps when I get through the storm and am able to appreciate the growth and freedom I experience because of the victory.  That gives me courage to fight the good fight another day.

What keeps you going in the transformation process?

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

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