Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Broken for Good

Growing up a Christian in a Christian environment (for the most part), I have always had mixed emotions when I heard the testimony of someone who has come from a very different direction than I have. Sure, Paul went from persecuting Christians to being one - but I couldn’t relate to that. Or the drug addict who left a life of partying behind when they heard the gospel - that is amazing! But again, I can’t really relate. I see these people, I talk to them, I preach to them - but, I’ve had trouble feeling like I was one of them. What did I repent of when I was baptized - picking on my little sisters? I’ve done things much worse since then. I’ve even thought about how much easier it would be if I wouldn’t have become a Christian until later - that everything would be easier of I would have waited. Those medieval theologians who wanted to be baptized on their deathbed may have been on to something...

I had a conversation this week with a woman from my church who told me that she wanted to be baptized again, after becoming a Christian 2 years ago. She remembers the feeling she had when she was baptized, the excitement, the hope and there were things in her life that hadn’t faded, hadn’t been taken care of and if she was baptized again she knew that this one thing that she struggled with, this one thing that pulled her down, this one thing would be washed away...

The truth remains that no matter how long someone has been a Christian, they still have to deal with sin. God doesn’t just swoop in and fix all of the problems. Sanctification is a process, not a point in time. How does this happen, how does God work in the lives of those striving to follow him?

So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled (marred, flawed) in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. - Jeremiah 18:3-4

God asked Abraham to give up the thing most valuable to him. Jacob fled the country because his own brother wanted to kill him. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and once he was back on his feet he was thrown in jail. Job. David’s sins led to him losing a child and huge family uprisings. Peter denied Jesus. Each one of these people were crushed back into a lump of clay and then re-formed into something better than what they originally were. We can be tricked into thinking that when we say, “you are the potter and I am the clay,” we are telling God that he has our permission to make subtle changes in our lives - to make the base of the jar a little wider, or the neck of the vase a little taller. However, these words have much more power than that.

The Pennsylvania Christian Teen Convention is held every year towards the end of February. I remember sitting in a chair in the Harrisburg Hilton and praying these words. The speaker had told us that if we really wanted God in our lives, if we wanted Him to use us in amazing ways, if we wanted to grow in Him, we should pray for Him to break us and form us into something new. Ten years ago I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Are you brave enough?

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