Having grandchildren is so much better than I ever imagined. My two young grandsons absolutely delight me — most of the time. There are occasions when foul smelling toxic waste escapes from their little bottoms causing me to wonder how all of that could possibly come from one so small and precious. However, times like these call for action, not wonderment.
Once the unpleasant aroma has been detected, necessary supplies must be rounded up and made ready for quick use. It’s wise to select a favorite, small toy that will induce a state of awe as you lay him down. One must be quick and methodical when engaged in the actual swabbing of the deck. Hesitation can cause a small hand or foot to begin spreading the muck to infinity and beyond. Just as that little bundle of joy’s attention snaps back to reality it is time to reclothe. At this point the art of steer wrestling comes into play. If you are nimble enough to get all those little snaps together correctly and in the right order on the first try you may throw your hands into the air and shout, “Hallelujah!” On second thought, you should probably hold onto the baby and silently revel in your accomplishment. With a warm snuggle and a kiss, he is content once more.
I sometimes wonder if God doesn’t feel the same way about me as He tries to change me into the person He wants me to become. Sometimes, He sends a distinct message through family or friends that something in my life reeks and is in dire need of change. I can choose to ignore it, deny it or admit it. Admitting it is the hardest part. But, God lovingly reminds me, “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9, NLT) I have learned the hard way that when unpleasant things continue to happen, I have a character trait in desperate need of change.
Just as I need to have a clean diaper and wipes ready when I change a baby, I also need to have the proper tools ready to help me in my transformation process. I need God’s word and prayer. There is no substitute for good conversation with God. If I allow days to go by without God’s encouragement and instruction I begin to turn my attention inward instead of upward, causing my attitude to stink. The more I immerse my mind in what God has to say and pour out my heart in prayer the more He helps cleanse all of the intricate pieces of my character.
Laying down my life before God and submitting to his will is difficult, but when accomplished, there is no greater joy. I recently had a friend of mine point out a chink in my armor. At first, I was defensive, then regretful and then, maybe even a little depressed, but God used that time to show me what I could do to change. As I browsed a Christian bookstore, He tenderly led me to the perfect Bible study on the very problem with which I struggle. Through that study I learned some very practical things I could do to help me with my problem. God is so good. I agree with Joyce Meyer when she says, “I ain’t where I need to be, but praise God I ain’t where I used to be.”
Romans 13:15 says “clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I would hate for God to think He was steer wrestling when He tries to clothe me with Christ. I often tell my grandson, “If you will just lie still this won’t take so long”. When I push against God’s hand I miss the inexpressible joy of being molded into the very form of Jesus. I slow His process considerably. I need to lie still and become awed by Jesus while “letting God clothe me with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”. (Colossians 3:12, NLT) As I begin to feel God expertly snapping me together, I can enjoy freedom from the toxic waste that has hindered me from having the aroma of Christ. I can revel in what God has just accomplished, enjoy His warm embrace and throw my hands into the air and shout “Hallelujah!”