Written By Yvonne Patock
The minute I walked through those doors, I started having second thoughts. My palms were clammy with sweat, announcing how nervous I was. I sat down, but kept fidgeting in an attempt to ward of the nervous energy that constantly emanated from my body. I eyed the exit warily, quickly trying to formulate an excuse to leave.
Alas! My brain was slow but my feet were even slower. The dentist finally called me in for the dental appointment I had made earlier that week. A couple weeks prior, my pre- molar constantly hurt every time I’d try to eat. Needless to say, I needed that tooth out before I could waste away (Okay, I am being a bit dramatic, but still.)
After the dentist examined the affected tooth, she concluded that the tooth could still be saved, instead of having to yank it out. The clock ticked away, counting the minutes as the procedure was on going. Yet, by the end of the long and painful procedure, I didn’t only get to keep my tooth, it was restored.
This made me think of God’s love and continual grace for us. When I walked into the dentist’s office, I thought I knew what I wanted. Admittedly, all I wanted was for the pain to go away. The dentist not only took the pain away, but she ensured that I didn’t leave the office with one- less tooth.
Isn’t that what God does? Once we go to Him, He takes those parts of our character and changes them to something better. When we go to God, we often think we know what we want, but He knows what we need. Admittedly, that is exactly what he’ll give us; what we need to be a better representation of Him.
C.S Lewis said it better when he stated in his book, The Problem of Pain, “ We are bidden to ‘put on Christ’, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we think we want.”
What prompts God to want to give us what we need, rather than what we want? What provokes Him to take our hearts and mold it in a way that reflects His image? Love!
He loves us just as we are, yet; He cannot let us remain the way He found us. His love is too vast to allow Him to leave us in the same state which we came to Him in. He longs to work on our hearts, so that we can become who He truly created us to be.
Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.- C.S Lewis, The Problem of Pain
God’s love for us desires to make us better; to change us to be more and more like Him. God doesn’t force this change on us. Rather, He allows it to be a gradual process that is provoked by the Holy Spirit living in us.
Just like an earthly Father chastens his son to be and do better, so does our heavenly Father. God wants us to be more like Him, and therefore; we can share in His holiness and promises. If God ignored our sinful state, He would be going against His own nature.
Hebrews 12: 9-10: Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He (God) disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
To Be More Like Him
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
I can honestly say that since I got saved, I am a completely different person. You’ve probably heard numerous Christians confess by stating the above statement, and rightly so. God takes your heart in its current state, and lovingly molds it so that it can reflect His image.
Ezekiel 36:26: Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
People taking a complete one eighty and changing after receiving the Lord Jesus Christ into their hearts, is evidence of the existence of God. That change is a miracle in itself, and can only be made possible by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It is important to note, however; that the change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s slow and gradual, as God continually works in and through our hearts and lives. It’s an ongoing process; one that requires us to remain plugged into the word of God and in constant communication with Him.
As earlier noted, this change happens after the Holy Spirit comes to reside in our hearts. The Holy Spirit will, hence, produce fruit in our lives. Ever heard the saying, “You shall know them by their fruit?”
Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
God expects us to love, not only the lovable, but the unlovable as well. The Holy Spirit will give us a joy that the world cannot take away and a sense of peace that is not dictated by our circumstances. The fruit that the Holy Spirit will produce within us will distinguish us from everybody else. That is how everybody will know that we are Christians.