What an odd title, but appropriate, for each time I go through something hard in my life I am learning to see the beauty in my pain. When my eyes want to focus on the immediate and the future all at the same time, and when I "must" know everything that will happen in my life, I am being stripped and molded to conform to another image, the image of Christ. The study of 1John has been a meaningful one to me, and a timely one as the year started with a call to repentance and forsaking sinful habits and attitudes. How my life, if truly in Christ, should reflect Him. This last week I was studying 1John 2:15-17.
The thought that struck me as I studied the meanings of the words in the Greek, was that it wasn't just this super sinful worldly stuff that I wasn't supposed to love, but it was more than that.
The lust of the flesh-It is the inner sin, any sin, that is leading me away from God. My desire to be independent from Him. Am I saying the same thing as God does about sin in my life? Am I being honest about who I really am?
The lust of the eyes(literally the eyes of the mind)- The sin that leads me away from knowing God and what He wants me to do. Do I really think I know what is best for my life, or does God? Am I conforming to the knowledge of this world?
The pride of life-Am I trying to be independent from God physically? Am I thinking of myself in such high esteem as to hurt those around me? I was blown away by this definition of pride by BLB
"an insolent and empty assurance, which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully despises and violates divine laws and human rights"
Not only do I do all these things, it is truly the struggle we have between the spirit and the flesh. John's call to a life in Christ is more than just avoiding the "bad" stuff of the world, it is avoiding the thinking and independent spirit of the world. It gets right down to the nitty gritty of surrendering our every desire and thought to Christ. John's words are not easy, in fact, he is quite stern as he says that God's love is not in us if we love the world. This message was so timely as I had a choice to conform to the thinking of the world, or the thinking of my Heavenly Father.
In the midst of renovating the 2nd floor of our house, I have had to restore different objects, and I was cleaning the hardware to the doors the other night, and I was seeing God speak to me during my work. I would take a rusty hinge, caked with old paint and it looked ugly, and possibly useless, but as I started scraping away the surface and letting the water wash over the hinge something started to appear, a beauty, a design, scrolls and pictures in the metal, something that was hidden by rust and paint, had suddenly come to light, it was being restored to reflect it's original design. I couldn't help but see the perfect analogy in my life. Christ scrapes away the sin, the mire, the things we have clung to in our lives. His goal is not for our comfort, but for our redemption. The water of His word washes me clean, the painful things He allows in my life are revealing who I was meant to be, and slowly I should start reflecting the design, beauty, and functionality of who God desires for me to be.
When it comes down to the moment of decision, if He is in us, then we will choose that which abides forever- a life in Christ. It doesn't all happen in a moment, no, it takes our whole earthly life to learn, but what a joy the process is, when our eyes are fixed on the unchangeable, the best, the most beautiful, and the most wonderful, the one who created the universe- God.