The Messy Process of Being Made Perfect

 


In order to make repairs on the dam at one end of the lake on which I live, engineers lowered the water level to twelve feet below the normal height.

In a few days, the beautiful and serene pond turned into an almost completely drained mud hole; to my eyes, it resembled pictures of a moonscape.

Jagged-edges of rotted tree stumps pierced the surface of the water that remained in the lake.


I felt shocked to see how shallow the lake actually was and to discover what lay at the bottom of it. Not a pretty or fragrant sight! The odor of decaying material that had been uncovered caused me to move a bit faster on my walk back home.

There are days on my journey toward emotional and spiritual maturity that I want to avoid “smelling” my below-the-surface emotions. I know that something’s rotting there, but I’d rather walk a bit faster—keep busy and ignore the simmering anger or hidden resentment.

Because I’ve been a follower of Jesus for many years, I think that I should no longer struggle with these things. I feel embarrassed but he is not. 

He sees below my surface smile but does not shun me; still, in his kindness, he does not ignore my messy inner self. Without condemnation, he shows me what I need to correct. With grace, he takes me by the hand and helps me climb out of my muddy hiding place. 

Instead of using the power of fear to make me forcibly submit, Jesus uses the strength of compassion to lift me out of my stuck place. Then, with joy and gratitude, I place my feet back on the pathway of life–receiving and following the personalized instruction that the Holy Spirit gives to me through Scripture. 

Among the Scripture verses that I cling to , this is a favorite :”For indeed he who makes holy and those being made holy all have the same origin, and so he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11 NET).

Why do I like this Scripture so much? It tells me that being made holy (perfect, complete, whole) is a process–a lifelong journey. On this journey, I often need some inner repair. All of us Christians, do. Pretended perfection is as smelly as the rotting material at the bottom of a lake.


The following poem, which I wrote quite a few years ago, reminds me of Jesus’ amazing attitude of grace toward those of us who are being made perfect. He says to us:

There’s Victory for the Weakest Saint

Don’t run away in fear and hide
when you are hurting so, inside.

Don’t cover up your sin so dark
for shame and guilt make worse the mark.

Your debt’s completely paid by me;
I bore it all upon that tree.

And you can trust I’ll meet your need–
my cleansing grace for every deed.

When you are at temptation’s door-
remember I’ve been there before

You. I know the way to win
unceasing battles over sin.

So, do not run or fear defeat
but with my Word the Tempter meet.

There’s victory for the weakest saint.
Be strong in faith and do not faint!

Jane Ault

8 thoughts on “The Messy Process of Being Made Perfect

  1. Thanks Jane- A good reminder of our “surgeon” Jesus who does not look at the surface, but the heart. He addresses the deeper needs in ways that we are often not even aware of. Oh the faithfulness of GOD!! ( your pond fooled me too- now it looks like ours in mid-summer 🙂

    • Yes, Donna, it’s with accuracy that Jesus inspects our hearts; he doesn’t confuse symptoms with causes, and he knows what the effective medication and treatment is. (the lake is being refilled, today. I hope your pond receives some rainwater.)

  2. Sometimes I think Jane, that I am okay enough. Things may “bother” me inside but I have lost the art of introspection. Maybe because I figure I’m about as good as I am going to get. Your words offer a gentle nudge towards inner house-cleaning knowing that Christ is the best cleaning agent a woman can have.

    • Thanks, Judith. I’m glad that gentleness is evident in the words that I write. I so appreciate the gentleness of Jesus! I’m learning that house-cleaning is not fun, even when he does it. However, he is the comforter, as well as the house-cleaner.

  3. I love these thoughts, Jane. I am so glad Jesus doesn’t give up on us. I love that verse in Hebrews. One of my favorites is Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

    • Thank you, Sandy, for sharing your thoughts and another great Scripture. Philippians 1:6 is a verse that I cling to; it brings me great comfort and keeps me from getting into a “works” mindset.

    • Great to hear from you, Blythe! I ask the Holy Spirit to give me understanding of God’s Word and the ability to share it with others in ways that are clear and helpful. Your words encourage me to continue writing. Thanks!

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