For the better part of the last eight months our church has been a construction site. It has been undergoing major renovations all whilst continuing to be a church where we hold Sunday services and mid-week meetings.
It has been a busy time with the daily works that go on and the constant happenings. The allowances that need to be made to ensure we can still use it for church services every Sunday. Our team have worked tirelessly in achieving this week in, week out.
Fortunately for construction sites, they tend to be quite obvious. They are fenced, clearly signed with everything looking a little out of place—all giving a clear indication that sufficient work is being done in this area.
Clearly, renovations take place to strengthen the existing building or to build/add something new. They happen to allow for growth—to make more room and to freshen up the existing. There is a feeling of newness and excitement once the construction is nearing completion but even more apparent is the sense of settling that happens once the work stops and things return to a NEW normal.
God wants us to be transformed
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When we say yes to Jesus, we become a new creation, the old has passed away and the new has come.
Therefore, if God doesn’t want us to remain the same then neither should we. "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Ephesians chapter 4, versus 14-16).
Meaning that as believers, we aren’t to remain as infants in our faith but to grow in our faith and become more Christ like. This, at times can feel like our own lives are undergoing ‘construction.’
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, versus 18 in The Message Bible
“All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”
Our Yes to Jesus is not the end goal, it is the start and beginning of a new relationship. A relationship where we grow and become more like Him by getting to know Him. This takes place by reading His Word daily and spending time in His presence. So often we miss out on the benefits of the relationship because we just don’t spend any time with Him. It is impossible to get to know someone without spending any time with them.
God wants us to mature in our walk with Him so that our lives become gradually brighter and more beautiful. These are the benefits, but we must be okay with undergoing the work. It takes time, effort and work to be transformed. It may cause us to feel a little vulnerable, unsettled and stretched for some time but He never gives us more than we can handle!
God wants our hearts to be strengthened
Why? Because God wants to strengthen those whose hearts are for Him.
“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles chapter 16 versus 9)
Not everybody’s hearts are for Him but those that are He wants to strengthen, to set firm foundations for all that the future holds. God uses all things and He will turn even detrimental circumstances to good, to strengthen hearts.
To grow in holiness and righteousness should always be the goal. We should desire to mature in our Christian walks and become more like Him.
We also need to appreciate that as we are all being transformed, that people change— they grow up. We should expect to see this as we interact with others. With this in mind we should also remember to be empathetic to ourselves and others as we all continue on this journey of becoming more like Jesus. There is a famous quote by Ainsley Carry that I quite like; I may not be where I want to be, But thank God I'm not where I used to be.
Elise Pappas and her husband are Campus Pastors of a Church on the Sunshine Coast. They have a son, Jonathan and a daughter, Sophie. Elise has a heart for God’s word and people. She also enjoys trail running and spending precious time with her friends and family.