Slowly, through all the universe the temple of God is being built. And whenever, in any place, a soul by freewilled obedience, catches the fire of God’s likeness, it is set into the growing walls, a living stone.
Self-righteousness….is the largest idol of the human heart – the idol which man loves most and God hates most. Dearly beloved, you will always be going back to this idol. You are always trying to be something in yourself, to gain God’s favour by thinking little of your sin, or by looking to your repentance, tears, prayers; or by looking to your religious exercises, your frames, etc; or by looking to your graces, the Spirit’s work in your heart. Beware of false Christs. Study sanctification to the utmost, but make not a Christ of it.
While the Gospels record many instances of Jesus instantly healing people’s illnesses, we know of not even one instance in which he simply waved his hand to immediately fix an ugly habit for one of his disciples. Instead, he simply kept teaching and correcting them, giving them time to grow. God seems to work like this much of the time in our own lives. He lets our weaknesses and difficulties drive us to himself, keeping us close. Miracles happen, but the inner transformation we so desperately desire can only be achieved over time. God seems to prefer it this way, perhaps because he knows we can only become like him by maintaining a constant close connection.
Think of life as a race along an obstacle course. This is not a race against others, rather a personal endurance race to make it to the end. From the moment we leave the starting blocks we should no longer be concerned with what happened behind us, since we can’t do anything to change it. We must use all our strength and skill to navigate what lies ahead. We must reach the finish line at all cost.
Are you becoming more sweet-spirited, more like Jesus? Are you looking soberly in the mirror each day and praying, ‘Lord, I want to conform to Your image in every area of my life’? Or has your bitterness taken root, turning into rebellion and hardness of heart? Have you learned to shield yourself from the convicting voice of God’s Spirit?
When He converted you, He forgave all your sins, every one of them. He did not leave half of them unforgiven, but blotted them all out as a thick cloud to be remembered against you no more forever. He also adopted you into His family and sent His Holy Spirit into your heart to tell you that blessed bit of heavenly news; and that information made you feel happier than to have been told that you had fallen heir to a million dollars, or been elected governor of a state, for this made you an heir of God and a joint heir of all things with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Glory to God! It is a great thing to be converted.
When people ask me what it looks like to follow Jesus, I usually say that following Him looks like dealing with all of the issues everyone else does—disappointments, tremendous joy, uncertainty, the whole bit—and having your mind change all the time as you learn how Jesus would’ve dealt with things. Following Jesus is about having your paradigms shift as you navigate a wide range of emotions while living the big life Jesus invites us into. Because I know Jesus, where I once thought of things in one way, now I think of them in another way. It happens all the time, every day.