Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

God loves you, he knows you are human, and he knows you are imperfect. He can live with that because he wants you to be transformed into his likeness. God knows that being transformed is a process that occurs over time.

If God wants a people who live in his image; in the way they are made (and he does), then he is able in his patience to wait for you and to cover you with grace while you make mistakes. Scripture in fact tells us just that. God is patient not just with his people, but with the world. Just as God wants you to be transformed, he also wants all people to come to him. His patience and covering grace is part and parcel of the process he is willing to allow for you to grow more perfectly into his likeness.

The implications of this are huge. Primarily this means that you aren’t damned just because you aren’t perfect. You aren’t automatically lost if you sin. Just the opposite in fact – your imperfection is the result of training and shaping. Your failure in any given instance is part of the plan.

Now, does this mean that you can run out and do whatever you want because “it’s part of the plan?” Well of course not. This is not a new question though. The epistles of John address this question specifically and that answer is absolutely not. Why? Because the Christian faith says the whole human is made in the image of God, and that having Christian faith means we are intentionally moving toward transformation and a fuller image of God. If our lives are aimed toward that transformation, we will not routinely live opposite to it.

Training failures are expected and accepted. Wholesale abandonment of being transformed is another question all together.

Living in the presence of God – as though God is here, now – with an intent toward his image is what God expects. Not perfection. Not sinlessness. Not complete knowledge. Intent, movement, and when required, correction back toward the right path is what he expects.

God has not left us alone with this transformation. The Spirit serves as our promise that we have God, the Spirit helps us express ourselves to God, and the Spirit assists us to shed our covering of pride and defensiveness, and prompt us toward that intentional transformation.

Brother Lawrence sets us an example of acknowledging our short comings, giving them to God, and moving on with living the Life. In the book which records his letters and teachings, we find him giving his imperfection to God to handle without further worry or doubt on his part.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Give it to God and rejoice.

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