In my 3 years of being a Christian I have heard many fellow believers talk about how gracious and loving God is. Usually it’s in regards to some kind of big blessing He has given them or way He has delivered them from something. It is awesome to see God’s work in our lives in these ways but in the last year I have realized another huge and perhaps more beautiful way He proves to be gracious.
I was driving home from work Monday evening and was thinking about a dear friend of mine that is going through a very hard trial. I thought to myself that I should call her and try to make plans with her this Friday. Quickly after, I thought “What if she doesn’t want to hang out with me and then I get my feelings hurt? Maybe I shouldn’t even ask.” There it was staring me in the face. PRIDE. In that moment, the Holy Spirit had prompted me, pointing out the selfishness of my thought. My friend is going through the hardest time of her life and I was thinking about my mild and downright pathetic feelings. I’m noticing things like this more and more lately. God is showing me the ways in which I am sinful and need to be like Him. This is an act of grace.
God showed me my fear that is wrapped up in this pride issue I have. It’s rejection. I’m afraid to reach out to people in fear that they will not like me or they will hurt me. This may come from my childhood. Who knows? But regardless, it is sinful. In doing this I am putting myself above others rather than humbly loving them. I’m thinking about me and me alone. In the midst of my thought I was reminded of how Jesus gave himself up for His Bride(the Church). He wasn’t thinking about rejection. He knew that His people would kill Him but He selflessly loved them by dying on the cross in their place. If that’s the person I am wanting to be like, I need to follow His example by giving myself to even those who may reject me. And in those times that I find myself rejected I am reminded of my Redeemer who has felt that same pain on a higher degree. I also remember that my identity is not in the people around me but in Christ and in Him I find everything I need for He satisfies my deepest longings(Psalm 107:9).
Sanctification is what takes place from the moment we are regenerated(born again) until we are with the Lord in heaven. It’s the act in which God changes us to be more like Christ. When you become a Christian you want that more than anything. We hate sin. To be without it would be the most amazing blessing. This is why we look toward heaven because we know that when we are there we will not only be with Jesus but we will also be fully changed. Although we know we will not fully be sanctified until then, we are called to pursue holiness. So why is it that when the Holy Spirit convicts my heart of sin I am discouraged? Is this not the thing I want most? To be rid of my sin? When God shows us the sin in our lives, He is not simply coming down on us to be mean and cause us to be discouraged. Rather, He is reminding us that He loves us too much to leave us in our sinful state(Hebrews 12:6). He is also reminding us of how much we need a Savior, namely Jesus Christ. This truly is the most gracious thing He can do. He reminds us that yes we are still falling but He will continue to transform us into the image of His Son.
Take heart. He’s not done with us yet.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6