Written By Charlie Sandberg, USA
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
Christmas is God’s declaration that He will renew and remake our world. This work includes remaking us from the inside out. As Jesus does this work, He is full of mercy. He doesn’t throw up his hands in frustration because the job is taking too long; instead he patiently works in our lives until the work is done.
I once thought Jesus’ work in my life would be wrapped up in a few weeks. So I was always a bit ashamed when things in my life were less than perfect. Then, my wife and I remodeled our kitchen and I learned an important lesson.
Remodeling our kitchen was a massive project. Partly because I had never used power tools before, and partly because we were taking out walls and putting in new fixtures.
My friend Rod drove out from Minnesota to help, and I’m so glad that he did. For starters, he knows his way through a remodeling project. In his spare time, he buys homes, fixes them up, and sells them to families in need at a reduced price. But mainly, I was glad he was there to encourage me.
You see, about halfway through the project, I was certain I had destroyed my kitchen. It looked like a bomb went off. Like one big mistake. Huge holes in the drywall. Dangling electrical wires. Dust everywhere. I was so overwhelmed by the mess and so fearful my house was beyond repair that I stopped functioning. I just stood in the middle of the mess wishing it would go away.
Rod isn’t what I’d call a sensitive man, but he noticed I wasn’t doing well. So he called a five-minute break, handed me a can of Country Time Lemonade, and said, “Charlie, you’ve got to learn to be okay with the mess. It’s just part of the project and I’m not leaving until it’s done.”
Those words weren’t just what I needed to hear about my kitchen. They were words for my soul.
Up to that point, I thought God wasn’t okay with the mess. I thought that everything in my life needed to be neat and tidy. That the holes in my character frightened Him deeply. That sometimes He wondered if starting a work in me was just one big mistake.
But Rod’s words shifted something in my soul. They helped me to see that my life is a remodeling project and for the time being, God doesn’t have a problem with the mess. Sure, dust is everywhere. Sure, sometimes he removes a drywall and exposes things I’d rather not face. But God isn’t overwhelmed. He’s busy taking out the old things and bringing in the new.
Christmas reveals this truth in such a clear way. After all, the story of Christmas is about a gracious God who cares about the mess we are in. So Jesus comes as a merciful Savior and His mercy means He’s incredibly patient as He works to renew and remake our lives.
So now I am practicing letting myself be a work in progress. Believing Jesus notices all the things about me that need to be redone, and yet He loves me anyway, and is okay with the mess because He is remaking me from the inside out.
A Moment to Reflect
Christmas reveals that God isn’t looking for perfection. He’s looking for humble people who will trust Him to do a work in and through them. So today, sit for a moment and let yourself rest in the reality that God isn’t overwhelmed by the mess. He loves you wholly. And He will finish His good work in you.