– Ravi Zacharias
Maturing in the Faith
I can look back on my life some years ago as a new Christian and see just how naïve I was. Wow, how could I have done such things?! What was I thinking? But then I realize that I was a babe in Christ and hadn’t been off the milk of the Word for very long. I was still doing some things that were not that smart. Time has a way of maturing us all, doesn’t it? God’s Spirit takes time with us. God is so patient with me. I am not as patient with me as He is. When I see new Christians in the faith doing some of the same things I used to do, I need not say, “Wow, how could they do that?” Instead I say, “I was like that once and still have much room for growth.” When I look at the stubbornness of ancient Israel, I don’t say, “How could they be so stubborn?” Instead I say, “How am I like them?” As long as we are drawing breath, God is still working in us and through us. We know that God is making a masterpiece, and a masterpiece takes time.
An Extreme Makeover
Remember the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”? How about this: “Extreme Makeover: Me Edition.” God is doing an extreme makeover in me, and boy do I need it. He alone is able to tear down the strongholds that I cannot and to destroy the walls of separation that my sins had created (Isaiah 59:2). He is able to refashion the living room of living for myself into the daily living room, living for Him. He is renewing my mind so that it will no longer be conformed into the world’s image (Rom. 12:2). I needed a heart transplant to begin, as my heart was desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Ezekiel wrote, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (36:26). It is out with the old heart of stone and carnal desires and in with the new heart of flesh and the Spirit of God. Extreme problems take extreme measures.
A Masterpiece in Progress
Can I take credit for any of this? Absolutely not. Can a masterpiece boast of its beauty? No, the glory of the painting belongs to the painter, Who is God. “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Eph. 2:10), and “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). Where did this new creation come from? Paul answers, “All this is from God” (2 Cor. 5:18a).
Mr. Zacharias was so right when he said, “Time is the brush of God, as he paints his masterpiece on the heart of humanity.” Just as any masterpiece takes a lot of time and effort, so it is with us, but the Master never gives up on the masterpiece, even when the masterpiece is anything but finished.