Wednesday, February 16, 2005
In order to learn more about the road construction project, I attended a meeting the other night. While I was there, I found myself thinking about how similar the Christian life is to a life-long construction project. Difficulties, trials, etc., are the means that God uses to sanctify us: to crucify the flesh, and comform us more and more to the likeness of Christ. As sanctification progresses, it can be rather, er, messy. God sometimes uses some very difficult providences to accomplish our sanctification: sickness, financial woes, relationship struggles, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, etc., etc., etc.. None of this in itself is pleasant, nor does God mean it to be so. But, as God's work progresses, fruit slowly but surely becomes visible. As Paul wrote in Romans:
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing
that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Paul is not saying, of course, that we ought to glory the tribulations themselves--even Christ despised the shame of the Cross as he endured it for the glory set before him--but rather that we ought to glory in the good that God intends to work through the tribulations.
Thus, the Christian ought not lose heart when his life appears to be in something of a mess or when he seems to be losing rather than gaining ground for a season. We have God's Word for it: we are under construction, and in due time we will see and enjoy the benefits of the wonderful work he's doing in us.