Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Work in Progress

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me…” (Romans 7:18, ESV).

I fascinated myself today, not in a flattering way.

I was caring for an old Indian chief who doesn’t have long to live. He expressed his friendship and the knowledge of his near future.

“You have been a real friend to me, not just a doctor. I will miss you when I’m gone.”

I replied, “Someday we will see each other again somewhere in the sky.”

When I reflected on that moment, I kicked myself because I knew I could have chosen words much better as a Christian witness. Instead, I had acquiesced to support his Native American beliefs.

I’ve been a Christian a long time. My goal each day is to witness for Him. Why did the truth of life, which should be a vital part of my being, not flow out naturally?

What I believe in my mind and sometimes will with my actions is not always an honest reflection of who I am at the core of my being. This incident simply reminds me of the fact that I do not always live what I believe, or even believe and trust as deeply as I imagine. And I could relate so many more embarrassing and disturbing examples. When will I become the person of God I imagine myself to be?

It was said of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “He believed what he thought.” Sometimes I am so far from that goal. Much closer to God’s ideal, Paul faced similar disappointment in his belief to performance ratio. “…For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Romans 7:18, ESV).

If even Paul knew himself to be far from God’s plan, what should we as lesser mortals do when we fail over and over again to be the persons we know God wants us to be? I once asked CMDA San Antonio Director Scott Phillips that question. His answer was both simple and profound. He said, “Try again.”

We live in a state where grace always trumps law through the blood of Jesus Christ.

We need never fear our outcome.

But our love for Jesus should drive us forward, ever trying, ever becoming more and more like Him as we try and fail and try again, as His transforming Spirit works within us.

I am not what I used to be; thank God. I am not what I someday will become; thank God. I am His beloved work in progress.

Dear God,
Keep working on me so that, more and more, others will see your likeness in me.

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