I’m writing you from a position of perfecting.
See, I’m in process, being stripped down to my bearings like a rusty bicycle. Rust lingers and builds up on itself—even after you’ve taken a metal like iron or basic steel out of the elements, the rust doesn’t magically disappear. It has to be CLEANED OFF. And in some places the metal corrodes, and needs to be REPLACED. Left untouched? It will simply continue to erode and disintegrate, an unusable mess.
It’s like that in our walk with Christ. We are the rusty bicycle that God has taken out of the element of sin nature. That rust? That’s what shame and condemnation and guilt and unforgiveness is on our soul. Even after the element of sin nature is removed, the rust remains for a time while the blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness, while we are being washed by the Word, while God is giving us a new heart, while we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds, while we learn to live as the new creations we became in Christ.
It’s a whole process because: Sustainable change takes time.
That same energy, effort, and intention you used to get into the mess is the same amount you need to get out! That’s why the word says that God is perfecting us until the day of Christ—“perfecting” ends in an “ing” which tells you the action is continuous. In my African American Vernacular English, I’d say it like this: “God be perfecting me while I’m outchea waiting on Jesus to come through.” 🙃
**clears throat, leans back into normal English dialect of the nonmelanated and uncountrified**
There’s a reason that God’s word says, “He gives grace to the humble”. Humility doesn’t come out of your sin conscious or shame or guilt; it comes out of your ability to understand that you’re BEING perfected—you get low because you know how far you’ve come and you see where you trying to go and you know FOR FACTS that you ain’t gone get there with you just being you. God’s grace is Him extending Himself and all that means towards you to be your ebenezer-your stone of help. (I have so much to say about that—that Ebenezer—but another day, mkay?)
Meanwhile: the thing that makes you humble is knowing you have so far to go and you can’t do it alone but that God has put everything into place so that in the fullness of time, in the beauty of His grace and the power of Jesus name? You can rest assured that He has it all worked out to work out. You know, on Christ the solid rock I stand…
The other side of that, though? Is being GRACIOUS. Because you’re not the only one God be perfecting. He perfecting you, me, us, and them according to His Divine Will. And that doesn’t look the same for everybody all the time. We serve an EQUITABLE God who gives you what you’re supposed to have in DUE season. If God did it all at once? Some of us would not make it because healing and restoration HURT. Do you know what it takes to get rid of rust? Neither do I, but I can guarantee it takes some powerful stuff. You know, the anointing that destroys the yoke, or whatever Isaiah was talmbout. Anyway. God is equitable in that He deals with us individually according to His divine purpose while using us collectively to do it (this why you need church—the body edifies, encourages, comforts through the perfecting process). Some hard healing places we walking together; some places we diverge into a space of healing and deliverance that others can’t walk with us; and always, we are being led down the path of righteousness for HIS namesake to get to the day of Christ Jesus.
This means you gotta extend the same kind of grace space to others as you need for yourself—and it cannot be done if you don’t accept the all sufficient grace of God, who has removed the condemnation and exchanged it for the clothe of righteousness that is Jesus. You can’t be loving to others when you aren’t loving to you. You can’t be forgiving of others when you don’t forgive you. You can’t fully bear the fruit of the spirit for others to eat if you have never allowed it to grow inside you for YOU to be filled first, for you to not be hungry anymore first. Self condemnation, shame, guilt, depression, shame, self pity, self hate… all of those things are the mark of fear and pride. Fear that you cannot be what you have been called by God; the pride kicks in when you turn that inner turmoil on others being judgmental and outwardly self righteous and pretending that you are whole when you are not. All of that is tricks of the enemy that make our flesh feel good in a world where pretending and revenge look like the move. It is NOT.
God has purposed that you be healed, delivered and fully set free so that you can raise the Ebenezer for somebody else—and you cannot do that if you’re beating yourself up and then turning that wrath onto others.
So take advantage of His all sufficient grace. Is that license to sin? Nah. But when Someone loves you—truly loves you, it makes you want to do right by them. God truly loves you. When you engage His love fully, begin taking it in and owning that He loves you regardless? You gone start to WANT to do right. You’re going to hunger and thirst after righteousness. You’re going to pray and praise and seek His face. You’re going to do whatever it takes to be with the One who really, really loves you.
That’s called DISCIPLESHIP. Which leads to OBEDIENCE.
When you start up like that, trying to stay in His presence and follow Him around like the needy soul that you have always been, then His grace kicks in even the more to enable you to stand against your flesh, this world, and the enemy of our souls.
So be gracious to yourself, and give grace to others. I promise you: it goes smoother when you embrace this principle thing. You give grace as God gives grace. You keep no record of wrong, and you make yourself of no reputation so that when the other person finally gets more perfected in that one part that drives you? You aren’t adding to their condemnation and shame and guilt, but showing them how much God loves them by showing them how much God loves you. In this way? You are being HOLY as He is holy. Even while He is perfecting you.