God is Not Done Yet
I have reached a milestone in life. I'm 40. But at 40, I don't feel like I have arrived. Not yet. Actually, it feels more like I'm just beginning. Like, I am learning to softly close doors and walk in to where I'm finally feeling more at home. Things like I want to do and I want to be.
But I have a problem. I can go on and on. I have a hard time finishing up what I have started.
But here's what I am certain.
He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
And so, even as I'm typing here, God is working. Hence, the mess as the renovation, uh, reformation is going on.
And as many ladies are familiar with, having a makeover done halfway is not the way to do the job. Just imagine, girls, going home with only one side of your head sporting bouncy curls while the other side is limp as spaghetti. Or your barber, guys, decided to quit at what he's been doing after he has shaved the hair behind your right ear and go home with a totally unexpected look that even the dogs bark at you on your way home. You don't want that.
I don't want it either. I don't want to be half-done. because being half-done is not being done at all. So here I am at my big four-oh raring for what He has in store. And here's what I'm expecting... (and which, I am fervently praying I am getting now.)
1. ...of my selfish heart.
As someone has said, "Helping others is your best shot at scoring in the game of life." Service may not be so attractive to our world conditioned to seek what is comfortable and easy, but for those who seek to live the life God wants them--- growing and fruitful--- it is the only way to go. Jesus said, "If you give up your life for me, you will find true life." (Matthew 16:25).
But I have a selfish heart, carnal and egotistical. Only God can change it, only Him can shape it after His own.
All that He needs from me is to give my whole heart to Him and leave it there.
An inspired author wrote: "It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Job 14:4; Romans 8:7). Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness" (E. White, Steps to Christ, 18).
2. ...of my relationships, starting with Him.
Oh, how we long to have wonderful relationships, without the tension and conflicts that often times come with it. But living in a world racked with sin and a body genetically modified with it, our relationships go, if not bad, then worst. And if we are in loving relationships, we are one of the fortunate ones... or simply, we have learned what it means to forgive.
Yes, forgiveness. We have to offer it everyday, just as we receive it daily. Jesus taught us to pray: "Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us." (Matthew 6:12).
The first step to having a right relationship with God and man is forgiveness. "How shall a man be just with God? How shall the sinner be made righteous? It is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ? Many are asking the same question as did the multitude on the Day of Pentecost, when, convicted of sin, they cried out, "What shall we do?" The first word of Peter's answer was, "Repent." (Acts 2:37, 38). At another time, shortly after, he said, "Repent, . . . and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out"
(Acts 3:19), (STC, 23)
But we wait too long. We wait for the right moment. We wait until we are good.
Come as you are. Go and ask forgiveness to whoever wronged you. "If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts? "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." (Jeremiah 13:23). There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, for better opportunities, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing of ourselves. We must come to Christ just as we are" (E. White, STC, 31).
And as He changes me, so does He change my relationships as I bring them to Him, whether my relationship with my husband, or my son, or my boss, or my students. Even with my MIL, with whom I thought I was making progress with by ignoring each other, then suddenly she wakes up or comes home and wants a fight... even that.
No, change doesn't start with us, it starts with Him.
If you are going through some rough, tumbly times that you just can't handle and makes you wonder that maybe, maybe you don't deserve a peaceful, harmonious life, DON"T MAKE IT AN EXCUSE to run away from God and into the arms of something that you may be sorry later. Run to Him. Plead with Him all the more. Imitate the persistence of that gentile woman, who sought healing for her demon-possessed daughter, and who kept pleading with Jesus even after He had to turn her away. She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (Matthew 15:27). And the Savior was amazed. He said, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour (v. 28).
Yes, come to Him and bring whatever it is that stops you from giving your heart to Him. He knows what to do with the demons inside us--- the addictions, the tendency to get distracted and wander, the troubles and storms. Bring them to Him. He is not interested in our strength, but in our dependence on Him. He is our refuge and help.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
And as I move on to the new season of my life, I invite you to journey on with me, as I hold on to His promise that He'll soften the rough edges in me, bring out the best of what He has given me, take out the dross, wash me, cleanse me, complete me. Only He can do that.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
(Jude 1:24, 25)
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