Jesus loves you just as you are! But He loves you too much to leave you that way! I believe this is a great way to describe God’s affection for us. He comes to us just as we are and meets us there in spite of who we are — not because of who we are. His love is so great though he won’t simply leave us there. He desires to change our hearts and transform our lives into his image.
If had to describe the Christian lifestyle in one word (and that is no easy task), I believe I would choose the word “process.” P-R-O-C-E-S-S. The Christian life is a process of one growing in a relationship with God, and also being changed into the image of Jesus Christ as he/she grows. Yes, that’s right! God wants to change your heart and make you more like Jesus. You see Jesus loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way.
In 1st Thessalonians 4:3, scripture tells us, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” Sanctified means to set apart from the profane and dedicated to the holy or sacred. It literally means that God desires we live a holy life. Often times people question what the will of God is for their life. They are usually wanting to know issues such as who they should marry, what job they should take, where they should move, etc. Those things are important, but God’s ultimate will has more to do with who we are than where we are. God’s will has to do with the character of our heart and lives. The Father’s will is that we become holy men and women of God. He will not accept any less than holiness in his people (1 Peter 1:16).
I have discovered though that living a Christian life of holiness is not just hard, but it is impossible. Thank God, however that He has not left us on our own. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “May God himself, the God of peace sanctify you through and through... The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
Let me give an illustration that will add some insight to this scripture. When my children were young, they would make a mess in their rooms. The boys would have Legos, cars, action figures, blocks, and more scattered everywhere. It would look like a bomb had exploded. I would try to teach them to clean up, but there were times it was so messy that they were overwhelmed and didn’t even know where to begin. They would look at me helplessly and ask for help. I knew they would have a hard time cleaning up such a large mess with so many different toys. So I often would get on my knees and help them clean up the mess. We did it together, as I told them and directed them a piece at a time. They needed someone much bigger who was not overwhelmed by the mess, and who could actually help them know where to even begin.
We are good at making a mess of our lives. Our mess is often overwhelming and more than we can handle. But the scripture I mentioned says, “May God himself … sanctify you. (He) is faithful and he will do it.” God promises to come into our lives and help clean up the mess as we invite Him to do so. First though, we must realize what a mess sin can truly be in our hearts and lives. We must admit that it is too big of a mess for us, but trust that God can do it. He can clean up our mess.
Friends, God sees the mess we have made of our lives and loves us just as we are. But He loves us too much to leave us there. Father in heaven, will you please help me clean up my mess? And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at email@example.com or 912-634-2960.