Gleanings – The Ultimate in Extreme Makeovers

1 Corinthians 3:7-18

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another.”

It is always nice when the lectionary tees up a favorite line of thinking or inquiry. What happens beyond salvation, when the Spirit leads us to profess “Jesus is Lord” that we might be reconciled to God? What’s next? Simply put, the Spirit’s work continues. He is transforming the believer into the likeness or image of Jesus.

Now there is no promise that this will be radical or fast though the former is clearly a goal. As Eugene Peterson describes it, our journey is a long obedience in the same direction. This is important to remember for the classically trained American Christian. Why? Because our sense of entitlement to immediate gratification has evolved into an entitlement to a quick fix. “Chemo?  Radiation? No thanks. I’ll take a shot and be done with it,” the doctors refrain “not an option” notwithstanding.

No we are being transformed and that for the rest of our lives. We should be humble about what progress might be made. At the heart of most sin is self/me. We so easily elevate ourselves above God and other. In its simplest form it is selfishness that has no regard for other, ANY other. Now we are steeped in selfishness. It is entrenched. So transforming it out of us is no easy is task. When you pull out weeds you always run the risk of harming wheat. A full on extraction of selfishness from the individual would be a bloody mess.

I was explaining this to my friend Jos yesterday. I lament it but I am selfish. I was born that way and the world has done little to temper it. When I get home at the end of the day, I want my wife and family to lavish attention upon me regardless of what their day has been like. I don’t want anyone to bring me slippers but a remote control would be nice.

But after decades of transformation I am a little more sensitive to what energy has been consumed just to get through the day especially with the addition of three boys in the last four years. And when I rail against God anyway, I tend hear his “and your point is?” sooner rather than later. I am a little, and I mean a very little, less selfish today than I was yesterday. The change may be imperceptible (and I am quite sure some will readily agree). But it is change nonetheless in the long obedience in the same direction that is producing the likeness of Jesus in me. And in that I will rejoice.

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