March 2, 2022
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"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure." 1 John 3:2-3 (NIV)
Construction zones. We see them everywhere: orange cones, yellow caution signs, and hard hats milling around - waving on, or holding up, traffic. I get it: Repairs are necessary. Improvements need to be made, and safer traveling routes are a good thing!
But if I'm being honest, anytime I roll up to a construction zone I immediately feel inconvenienced. Whether I'm late or on time, construction zones hamper my progress forward. And usually the "finished product" is almost impossible to visualize, making me often wonder if any progress is actually being made.
In recent months, I've been humbled with the realization that the mess on the roads is not so different from the mess of sin in my own heart. Piles of insecurities still need to be hauled off. Unexpected obstacles test my faith. Orange cones are still needed to divert me from harmful behaviors. Tangles of negative thoughts regularly seem to delay my progress, and quite honestly I feel discouraged and left wondering:
Why does this feel so hard?
Why am I still struggling with this?
Shouldn't I be farther along?
Maybe you can relate.
In the New Testament book of 1 John, the disciple John was writing a letter to believers who were bit of a mess themselves and in need of some spiritual encouragement.
These believers were a scattered Christian audience whose main problems were declining commitment, conformity to the world's standards, compromising of their faith, and belief in the lies of false teachers. These believers may have doubted their secure standing as children of God. Like us. They may have been frustrated that they were still struggling with sin and even wondering if change was possible. Like us.
John said to them: "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure." (1 John 3:2-3)
John's intentions were to put the believers back on track, encouraging and assuring them with truth. He lovingly reminded them that their transformation was a process: "what we will be has not yet been made known." He reassured them that "when Christ appears, we shall be like him" - complete. And friends, I think sometimes we, too, need to be reminded of these truths.
When we ask the Lord to be sovereign in our lives, we are instantly justified and deemed righteous before God. We are adopted as His children and destined for heaven. But until this life ends and we meet our heavenly Father, we go through the process of sanctification - being cleansed of sin, purified in our hearts, developed in our faith and taught to walk in the ways of the Lord.
Loose translation: Our hearts are under construction. And when our construction zones are right in the middle of this sinful world and our sinful desires? Well, it's no easy task.
Thankfully, though, we're not alone in this soul renovation. The Lord has given us the Holy Spirit as Project Manager over our hearts. (Galatians 5:16-17) He is there to oversee the process, empower us to persevere and point us back to truth when we are feeling discouraged.
So if, today, you're feeling as though your heart is a bit of a mess, don't lose hope! The Lord is lovingly tending to the sanctifying repairs and improvements we need. Progress is being made. And wherever our roads may take us, we can confidently rest in the truth that when we meet our Father face to face, then we will finally be "finished products" - pure and complete.
Dear Lord, You are the Way-Maker. Thank You for overseeing the "construction" of our hearts and never giving up on us. Please fill us with renewed hope today as we pursue You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
1 Thessalonians 5:23, "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (NIV)
How can you specifically pray today about the obstacles and detours in your own heart?
We'd love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
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