Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion (transformation) until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, NIV)
Sanding and refinishing an old piece of furniture takes time and effort. But the final product is astonishing.
Yesterday I decided to refinish an old table. It was covered in thick, antique brown paint. Previously, it had been a functional piece of furniture . But now, it was just not visually appealing. I suspected that beneath the unpleasant surface there existed a deep, rich wood grain that would gleam – with the proper treatment.
So, with much enthusiasm, I started sanding. The first few sanded areas proved my suspicion – the wood grain was rich and marbled. It would look fantastic whether stained or simply covered with several coats of varnish. After a few hours, my enthusiasm faded into sore arms and shoulders. With floating wood dust in my eyes, nose, and throat, I thought maybe just buying a new table was an easier alternative. Regardless, I continued sanding with the end product in mind.
After hours of sanding and varnishing, followed by more rounds of light sanding and more coats of varnish, the table was finished. Oh, how it shined! The transformation from the old table to the new was remarkable. Part of my satisfaction was the effort behind the transformation. It hadn’t happened instantly – the long hours and hard work were all part of the gleaming beauty. Each knot and grain swirl of the wood reminded me of the sweat and muscle aches required to reveal the table’s inner beauty.
Isn’t that just how God works with us? Our spiritual rebirth occurs instantaneously – but our spiritual transformation happens over time. We are “renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16) as we “put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23). God performs His transforming work to bring about Christlikeness in our lives.
Are you enduring some “sanding” today? Are you going through some seemingly pointless trying time? Maybe God is sanding down some rough spots in your life or character. Although such adversity may hurt and take time, be encouraged that God is at work. As you daily submit to Him, He is “sanding” away the unappealing sinful habits and characteristics so His holiness may shine through. His ultimate goal is to transform you into “the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
When God completes His good work in you, rest assured you both will be pleased with the gleaming, fully transformed result.