Sunday, March 8, 2009

You’re Such A Doll {Part 4}

There must have been a reason Jesus was a carpenter. Although on the surface it may seem Jesus was simply following His surrogate father, Joseph, into the family business, surely our sovereign God had a purpose in choosing that profession for His Son. Of all occupations, why did He pick carpentry? Why not fishing or farming?

Perhaps it is because Jesus had been a carpenter of hearts since the beginning of time. He was always working at sanding, carving and polishing the hearts of men. It was only fitting that He continue the line of work on earth.

The tale of one of His earlier carpentry projects has survived the ages. The storyline began like a Hollywood production: A simple country boy captured the heart of a nation through a single act of heroism. He was an instant celebrity. But life took a turn for the worst when the country boy's popularity began threatening the king's fragile self esteem. Although he would never dream of usurping the government, in envious fury, the paranoid king sicced assassins on the innocent hero. The glamorous storyline ended there, as the young man spent the following months as a refugee, hunted like an animal, crying out to God to answer why.
Gene Edwards speculated:

"David the sheepherder would have grown up to become King Saul II, except that God cut away the 'Saul' inside David's heart. That operation, by the way, took years and was a brutalizing experience that almost killed the patient.... David accepted this fate. He embraced the cruel circumstances. He lifted no hand nor offered resistance. Nor did he grandstand his piety. Silently, privately, he bore the crucible of humiliation. Because of this he was deeply wounded. His whole inner being was mutilated. His personality was altered. When the gore was over, David was barely recognizable."

In one of the darkest hours of David's life, a transformation took place. Under the steady hand of God, David's scars became beauty marks. His heart was carved away and replaced by a heart after God's own.

This transformation is commonly known as "sanctification," yet it is perhaps better described as a death. It is a dying to self in order to be alive to Christ. C.J Mahaney explained it like this:

"Sanctification is about our obedience. It involves work. Empowered by God's spirit, we strive. We fight sin. We study Scripture and pray, even when we don't feel like it. We flee temptation. We press on; we run hard in the pursuit of holiness. And as we become more and more sanctified, the power of the Gospel conforms us more and more closely, with ever-increasing clarity, to the image of Jesus Christ."

However, sanctification is not an earning of God's love in any way; He has already declared us beautiful by virtue of Christ's blood. Beauty in Christ is given to us upon receiving salvation. Yet the etching of our character and inner beauty takes time to develop.

Two friends have recently challenged me by their stunning inner beauty. One demonstrates maturity beyond her years as she balances her highschool studies with helping care for younger siblings and her Alzheimer's ridden grandfather. The other spends her days running errands and assisting her invalid mother. While these young women's faithfulness is not heralded in the streets, their inner beauty silently radiates as a testimony to God's work in their lives.
My friends would be the first to admit that their sanctification process has been anything but painless. It is not easy to face a mile long "To-Do" list with a smile every morning. The development of inner beauty requires constant peeling and scraping of pride encrusted hearts, and often includes the loss of many a tear. Soren Kierkegaard mused, "God creates everything out of nothing. And everything which God is to use, He first reduces to nothing."
And yet, these dear girls are pressing on. They are encouraged by David's reward; that someday God will set down the sandpaper, dust them off and be able to say: "Ahh, a little beauty, at last."

Sources:

*Beauty From The Heart {where I found the articles}.

*Gene Edwards, A Tale of Three Kings. p.24-25

*C.J. Mahaney, Living the Cross Centered Life. p. 117

3 comments:

  1. Liv, every time I see you I mean to say 2 things: 1. I have pictures for you to look at. =) 2. This is an awesome series that you're doing. It really makes you think. Thanks!

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  2. Hey Olivia! I love your header! Could you please tell how to make them? thanks, Lydia


    www.unendingjoyfilm.blogspot.com

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