God Builds Christians
Our Christian experience, here on earth, is surrounded with mystery. The Bible speaks of the mystery of godliness. In 1 Timothy, Paul says this. “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great. (3:16). He speaks again in 1 Corinthians about the mystery of the resurrection. “Listen I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of eye, at the last trumpet. (15:51). We believe these mysteries by faith. We have no earthly experience to compare them too. Our life here on earth is a work in progress. In Philippians Paul says “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (1:6).
The God, who began a good work in us many years ago, continues throughout our lifetime. His work will be finished when we meet Him face to face in Heaven. What a great feeling to know that all the things we have come through so far is just a growing process for the wonderful existence we have to look forward to in Heaven. Paul assures us that God’s work in us is a long process. My wife, Joan, made a cross stich thing for the children’s room when they were very young. The message was, “Be patient, God is not finished with me yet.” I often wondered, did she make that for the children or as a reminder to us that God continues his work throughout our life.
God knew what he had in mind for us even before we were born. He knew our mission on earth from the very beginning of creation. He started preparing us for it from birth. Even though God knew our purpose, he gave us a free will to choose our path. We could, and many of us did, put our own ambitions before God’s purpose. Those were learning experiences also. Failure teaches us lasting lessons. Sometimes these lessons are hard and costly. God would not force us, but would guide us and prepare us for the mission we were created for. As we grew a little older, we realized our path was not going in the right direction. We met someone who told us about Jesus Christ. The sacrifice he made shed his blood as an atoning act of love that wiped away our sin so we might have eternal life in Heaven. When we accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, our life lessons began to make more sense. God’s work in us earnestly began and continues today.
God sent Jesus to teach us His way and show us the pathway to Heaven. Jesus died on the cruel cross at Calvary, rose from the grave and returned to heaven. Sitting at the right hand of Father God, he is our intercessor. “But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7: 25). God spoke to righteous men of old and produced what we know as the Holy Bible as a written book of instructions. He knew we would need help, sometimes, understanding His instruction, so he sent The Holy Spirit to dwell in our heart. He’s there to guide, direct and protect us, to instruct us in the ways of Father God. (Romans 8:26) The whispers we call our conscious could be The Holy Spirit speaking. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don’t. That’s why some lessons must be taught over and over until we understand.
Sometimes it seems that we are not making any progress in our spiritual life. That’s because the growing process is slow. “Like newborn babies, we crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow in your salvation, now that you have tasted the Lord is good”
(1 Peter 2: 2-3) Another reason is we are being attacked as we grow. Satan does not mind if we stay “babies” in Christ, but when we start eating the solid food of salvation he begins to worry and attacks us. “Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them” (Mark 4:15). Be assured when God starts a project, He completes it. God gives us a way to battle evil and win. “Finally be strong in the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6; 10-11). When we are discouraged we must remember God has promised that he will not give up on us. He has promised he will complete his work.
As we grew in our knowledge of Christ Jesus, God sent helpers along the way. Our parents, our Sunday school teachers, our Christian friends, our spouse all helped us grow to the spiritual maturity that we are today. We need to thank God for their involvement and the influence they had on our Christian growth. If possible, we can thank them now, if not we will surely meet them in glory.
When we feel distressed, incomplete or unfinished by our shortcomings, remember God’s promise through Jesus Christ. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14: 1-4).
Let’s not let our present condition rob us of the joy of knowing Christ or keep us from growing closer to him. We are a work In progress. God is not finished with us. We must be patient and pray for growth and light. We must remember that while hanging on that cruel cross, suffering, being ridiculed and abused, Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who were crucifying him. He could have stopped the process anytime he chose, but he didn’t. He loved us so much that he willingly died for our sins so we might live with him in paradise. At the end of his life here on earth, Jesus said from the cross, “Father it is finished”. His work on earth was complete and he was ready to return to his rightful place in glory. He defeated sin on the cross and defeated death when he rose from the grave to return to Heaven.
Now we wait for our Heavenly Father to complete His work in us. The work he started so many years ago. We are kinda like a muffin being baked. We start out as a thin combination of our life experiences. God adds more ingredients slowly. As we grow and learn. Our life becomes firmer until God has completed his preparation. We are then put in the muffin tin, our local church surrounded by Christian friends. That will shape us into what God had in mind when we were created. We’re still not ready to be called a muffin. We first have to be put in the oven. That gets pretty hot and some of us have to stay there longer than others, but this is a necessary step to accomplish God’s plan. We’re still in the oven, not quiet finished yet. Remember what Paul said “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). When we are ready and have grown to our full size in Christ, God will say to us, “It is finished”, and we, like Jesus, will join him in Heaven.