Saturday, March 14, 2015

The frustrating moments that sanctify us


He was running over his meeting notes in his head while he drove down the freeway to the bay area for his first client meeting of the day. He needed a win for his family. He had prayed over the morning and was thinking about the verse I gave him the day before.

All of a sudden he heard a loud sound and the car starting driving with a plodding thud, thud, thud. He pulled off to find one of the back tires completely blown out. Thankful it didn't cause an accident, he quickly changed the tire. Driving with the spare, he calculated that he was going to be an hour late for his first meeting.

In the past, this incident would have thrown off his entire day and ruined his focus, but God had been working in him over the past few weeks. Somehow his renewed trust in God allowed him to maintain his focus and confidence for the day ahead.

Meanwhile, I was at home late that night watching the clock as the tire had caused him to run four hours behind. I had missed an appointment, missed a date night hearing a fun speaker at church, and my thoughts were starting to move to frustration and anger.

As I looked at my son, I realized that he was always going to be watching me and learning from me, especially how I respond to setbacks. I had a choice to continue fixating on what went wrong that day, what should have happened, my frustration, disappointment... or choose to submit my mind to God and take on an attitude of thankfulness. Thankful that my husband works so hard for us, thankful God kept him safe while on the road, thankful that he would be home soon.

Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Christ by submitting our hearts, thoughts, words, and actions to Him.

"People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b)

I remember being a young adult and doing an "urban plunge" for a weekend when we ate and spent time with the homeless--we became one of them. We went through the meal line one night and a church group was serving dinner. The people didn't look up or smile at the homeless men and women they were serving. Their hearts were hard while their hands were busy.

Service and ministry are important in the Christian life. Jesus commands us to serve Him by serving one another. To honor Him, we commit blocks of our schedule to serving Him.

We take our family to church, we volunteer, we go on a mission trip, we donate clothes and food, we serve the needy, we take opportunities to teach others about Jesus.

But maybe we become more like Christ in the moments in between that aren't planned. When someone cuts us off in the church parking lot, when the kids are screaming in the backseat, when no one thanks us for volunteering, when we break down on the way to our mission trip, when the person we're serving curses at us, when we're patronized or assaulted with arguments.

Those are the moments when we tend to react, but if we choose to submit our thoughts and feelings to God, our hearts and minds will be transformed.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2a)


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