Pain, porridge and mashed potatoes.
If you’ve ever had braces for your teeth, you might know what I’m talking about. It’s been 7 months since I got mine, little metallic pieces glued permanently onto my teeth.
Friends warned me of the wires and the ulcers, but I had decided that the other side of pain and suffering – straight teeth – was worth it. There are days when even speaking is hard, but I’ve never thought of quitting. Straight teeth and my impending jaw surgery to correct my underbite will be worth it!
Doesn’t that paint a picture of the hope of transformation of our Christian walk itself?
We go through pain and suffering when we realise that what’s on the other side — being made more like Christ — is worth it (2 Corinthians 3:18).
When we make that decision to get aligned with His will, we don’t have to be discouraged when the growing gets tough – and sometimes downright impossible to endure. Instead, we choose to rely on God’s grace to ultimately transform us into His likeness, if we stay the course (Philippians 1:6).
It will be daily hard work not to give free rein to our sinful nature – the natural way things are. But it’s always worth letting God do His work to change our carnal habits and straighten our slanted thought patterns.
Having grown up in a cage, it feels safer to remain a slave to our sin rather than be free in the wild. Left on our own, I believe most of us would rather take the path of least resistance than to fight.
In the holding room between slavery and the Promised Land, the Israelites sought the familiarity of a full stomach (Exodus 16:3). In bondage, they could eat all the meat they wanted. And after days and weeks and months of God-given manna out in the wilderness, they suddenly found themselves craving the “comforts” of slavery over their freedom.
When we make that decision to get aligned with His will, we don’t have to be discouraged when the growing gets tough.
It was in the uncomfortable desert that the Israelites’ true nature — their preference for temporal comfort and instant gratification — was brought to light. They had cried out for years for deliverance, yet had somehow forgotten God’s divine intervention and mercy in granting them exactly what they wanted (Exodus 3:9-10).
For as long as we refuse to let God’s Word convict us of our sins (James 1:22-25) and anchor our hope in His faithfulness to have our best interests at heart always, we will remain unchanged, unrepentant and ungrateful. To yank open the curtains and let light expose the truth about us, that’s scary. But we’re doing it for the God of love (1 John 4:16).
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
I believe God has a bigger plan for you than to let you remain in your old ways.
Our old self is corrupted and deceitful. We must abandon it for good, putting on the new self as God’s blood-bought children.
God promised the Israelites ownership of an entire land flowing with milk and honey, yet the Israelites would rather be slaves for meat. But we are no longer slaves. When we’re inclined to grumble as the Israelites did, let’s remember that God can give us more than we can ever hope for ourselves (Ephesians 3:20) – even if we do not see it yet .
Don’t lose your faith in the holding room. Grace began the work in us and Grace will see us through. Our inheritance is on the other side of faith and patience (Hebrews 6:11-12), and it will be worth it.
Nobody said it was going to be easy. But neither does it have to be that hard.