In my neighbourhood is a fenced lot dotted with some fairly large holes, mounds of dirt, and some construction equipment. Among the other commercial buildings in the area, this plot of land is a bit of an eye sore, and undoubtedly, were it to be left that way, the protests would be loud and many. In big bold letters, however, were the words “Coming Soon” and above those words, an artist’s rendition of a beautiful structure showing what the finished product would look like. The holes in the ground were the start of a process, which, along with numerous construction activities over time, would eventually result in a building that complemented those around it.
As I drove past the lot, the Spirit of the Lord reminded me that the process for the believer was no different. Spiritually, there is not much about some of us that look like representatives of Jesus. The world looks at us and scoffs at our lack of appeal. Some people point fingers at our mistakes, our failures, and often we struggle with seeing ourselves as children of God because we seem to fail Him so many times, in so many areas of our day-to-day lives. Yet it is worth remembering that we are under divine construction; a process that as long as we yearn for God and the things of God, He will continue to shape us to conform to the image of Christ.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears” (1:6, The Message). God will finish what He started. The way we are is not the finished product, but as with the artist’s rendering to remind us of what is to come, we look at Christ as representing what we will eventually be. It is no wonder Paul said to the Christians in Rome, “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him” (Romans 8:29). Pastor and author Charles Swindoll puts it this way, “To be like Christ. That is our goal, plain and simple. . . . Only Christ can accomplish it within us.”
If like me you are nowhere close to what you should be in Christ, take heart. We are under divine construction, or more likely, divine reconstruction, and God is not through with you and me just yet. At times in the process, we may seem “ugly,” but the finish will be beautiful. Let us yield ourselves to Him and allow Him to “make [us] perfect in every good work to do His will, working in [us] that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21, KJV). As the Master Builder, He can be trusted. He knows what He is doing.