Of the many mysteries in life that intrigue and baffle me, one in particular has captured my interest lately. It is the mystery of God’s renewing work in His people.
God has conquered sin’s grip on us through Jesus’ death on the cross, so we now have a winning chance against the things that tempt us to be less than godly. As God teaches us to say no to things that bring harm and say yes to things that honor Him, we become like Jesus Christ.
Even as this same work progresses in every Christ follower, it’s not as if God is stripping out our individuality in order to install the Person of Jesus. No, somehow the process of becoming more like Christ enhances and embraces the uniqueness of each individual. Amazing!
You would think that making a bunch of people more like Jesus Christ would result in a mass of flat, emotionless, clone-like people. But that’s not the work that God is doing.
Somehow He retains the unique individual and transforms them to be more like Christ Jesus without sacrificing the personality and quirks and oddities we each have.
Michael Card explains it like this in his book The Fragile Stone:
“All of us bring out ‘presets’ with us into our walk with Jesus. I believe he intends it to be so. So Paul brought with him bits and pieces of his Pharisaism, his passion, his desire for correct theology integrated into life. Peter too brought his agrarian simplicity, his practical approach, and, as we shall see in the story of Cornelius, his Jewish concern for ritual purity.”
These presets are the accumulation of our lives—all we have had and all we have lacked rolled into the same package. Card projects that God wants to take all that makes us unique and use that to accomplish a bit of His will on earth.
Perhaps Paul was a bit unyielding—God worked with him anyway. Maybe Peter was swayed too much by tradition—God used that bent to benefit others. And I am prone to insecurities and introversion—God can find some creative use for that too.
God works with imperfect people like us even as He causes us and calls us to grow and leave old, immature ways behind us.
Some would look at followers of Christ and balk at the failures and inconsistencies, assuming it to be proof that God doesn’t exist or isn’t involved in the life of mere humans.
But I look at how people cling to God because of their failures and inconsistencies, and I see a God who has unending patience with odd people and creatively uses all that we are to His glory.
Does God work with quirky people? Thankfully—yes (not that He has another option).
I’m living proof. [To my family and friends: Thanks for your patience.]