We are not perfect but we are in the process of being made perfect: the process known as sanctification (that’s a Bible word meaning, to be made holy). A Christian is not perfect but forgiven.

One author wrote: ‘I was with one of my children recently and somebody said, “They look just like you!” Guess what the Father wants to say about you? He wants to look at Jesus, look at you, then back at Jesus again, and say to Him: “That disciple looks just like You!” – That’s what the Holy Spirit does, He brings you to the place where you act just like Jesus.’

Tony Evans, Time To Get Serious, p.207

God will always work in you before He works through you.

“The standards of lifestyle set by Jesus are very high. Christian leader, John Wimber put it like this: ‘Jesus is insatiable. Everything we do pleases him but nothing satisfies him. I have been satisfied with Jesus. He has not been satisfied with me. He keeps raising the standards. He walks in high places. He is generous but uncompromising in his call.’”

Quoted by Nicky Gumbel in The Jesus Lifestyle, 2010, London: Alpha International, p.10

Michelangelo was once asked how he was able to carve such beautiful sculptures from lumps of plain old rock. He replied that he saw the person in the stone and used his chisels to set them free. That’s what God does with us: He sees the person He wants us to become and He chisels away, knocking off the rough edges and making us into a thing of beauty.

God loves us just the way we are – even if you are not a Christian – but God loves us too much to allow us to stay the way we are. We are like a stone with a flawed diamond in it! God wants to free the diamond in us, so that we shine and radiate his glory. He wants to grind away the flaws and polish us to perfection. That’s why Christians have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s engagement ring, his pledge of heaven given to us while we are still on earth. We have the Holy Spirit to encourage us, and comfort us, and teach us, and strengthen us. But also, to convict us, and to lead us in the way of repentance so that we can be forgiven, and keep on being forgiven as we change for the better and go through this refining process; being sanctified.

We’re a bit like a missile fired at a target: we’re aiming at holiness and progressing towards heaven. As a missile heads off towards its target, the wind, weather, atmospheric pressure and turbulence cause it to keep deviating off course but the in-built homing device keeps tracking, making adjustments and bringing the missile back inline. Our in-built homing device is the Holy Spirit: When we’re convicted of sin and become remorseful, we repent, confess and seek God’s forgiveness: we turn away from our sin and turn back to Christ again and again. The thing is the more established the missile gets towards its target the less it deviates off course. Same with us, as we progress in the Christian life, as we mature in our faith and grow in knowledge and grace and Christ-likeness – we never become SINLESS, but we do SIN LESS. To paraphrase what John Newton once said: ‘I am not the man I should be. I am not the man I could be. But I am not the man I once was. And by the grace of God I am not the man I one day will be!’

We don’t notice ourselves growing older physically until we look at an earlier photograph, and then it hits us! And it’s the same with spiritual growth; it’s hard to gauge how far you have come until you look back and see where you were before Jesus saved you; before He turned your life around.

Bob Gass

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 22/8/2007

During the process of refining metals, the raw metal is heated by fire until it melts. The impurities then separate from it and rise to the surface, and they’re skimmed off, leaving the pure metal underneath. Without the heating and melting process there could be no purifying. But as the impurities are skimmed of the top, the reflection of the metal worker appears in the smooth, pure, surface underneath. And similarly with us, as we are sanctified or purified by God, which is an ongoing process, His reflection in our lives becomes more and more clear to those around us.

I found a quote from an eighteenth century monk called Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain… you might like to take this on board. He says: You must know that progress on the path of spiritual life differs greatly from an ordinary journey on earth. If a traveller stops on his ordinary journey, he loses nothing of the way already covered; but if a traveller on the path of virtue stops in his spiritual progress, he loses much of the virtues previously acquired. – In other words, on a normal journey, if you stop travelling, well then, you’ve still covered all the distance you’ve already travelled. But if you falter or stop on your spiritual journey, you slip back and lose much of the ground you’d previously gained.

Source: J. John, Soul Purpose, p.254