One Man’s Trash…
I may have mentioned before that I like to find old junky furniture and refurbish it. I don’t do it a lot, but as I have a need, I begin to look for a piece that will do the trick and in time stumble upon what is usually a happy accident. When I find a piece I love, I rarely feel constrained to use it according to its original purpose. I see it entirely for its potential to fill my need. For example, I am currently using a chest of drawers to hold photos and scrapbooks. Another dresser is a stand-in for an entertainment center. I have an old stereo cabinet hiding my printer, paper and miscellaneous office paraphernalia beneath its hinged lid. That said, in spite of the way I use a dresser, for example, it is never actually transformed into an entertainment center, it only stands in place of one and serves that purpose. Or does it? Does its form or its use define an object? Does the object or its owner determine what it actually is?
A friend and I have been having an ongoing and difficult (for me, anyway) conversation. In the midst of one of these dialogues the other day she accused me of enjoying the diversion of stripping, refinishing, and repurposing, because it satisfies a deep personal need for my own life. I thought at the time that it was a bunch of psychobabble, but would make for great article fodder which would surely benefit someone. Not me. But someone. Oddly, however, her comment has been working my nerves, and the thing I keep butting up against is the idea that you can paint things up any way you want, but that doesn’t change what’s underneath. A dresser is still a dresser; it only looks like an entertainment center. Melissa is still the same old sinner; she only looks like a Christian. (Wow. Do I actually believe that?!)
I’m trusting that there are some of you for whom that arrow hit its mark. I don’t hope so; I just believe that there are others out there like me who have somehow never truly believed in the change. (Geez, could I get a little more confession going here!? I think my paint is starting to peel!) Some of us struggle so desperately with sins which seem to master no one but us that we begin to think that our salvation is all window dressing. We work really hard at keeping up appearances and we bury the fear that we’re really only pretending to be what others have truly become.
Listen, here’s what I’m telling myself (Yes, I literally have this dialogue in my head. One day the men in the white coats will come…). Here it is…The Guy who rescues you gets to say what you are. You think you’re a dresser. So what? It doesn’t matter what you think. He thinks you’re an entertainment center and He’s using you that way. So you still feel like a dresser. So what? It doesn’t matter how you feel. He feels that you’re an entertainment center…and He’s using you that way. You say that makes you a pretender, a poser, a fake because underneath you’re still a dresser. So what? It doesn’t matter what you say. He says you’re an entertainment center, and He’s using you that way! You belong to a new owner now. Stop fighting him to still be the dresser. Be what He says you are. He’s the one who rescued you from the curb. He’s the one who did the work of transformation. He gets to say what you are now. If He says you’re an entertainment center and He’s using you that way…then you are what you are even if you can’t see it in the mirror. Stand there in your little corner of the room and believe Him anyway! (Three snaps in a Z formation!!)
Now understand that there is abundant scriptural support for what I’ve just said and if you look for it you will find it. (I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone. The new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17) (Who is the pot to back-talk the Potter? Romans 9:20) (My old life is now hidden with Christ! Colossians 3:3) The primary thing to keep in mind on this topic is that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we can’t see (Hebrews 11). I hope I have been transformed and have become a new creation, but I sure can’t see it sometimes! Faith is trusting what He said more than I trust what I see. We truly have been forever changed if we are in Christ; we’re just still stuck, for now, in our earthly bodies which are riddled with sin. We are in the process of being perfected and made holy while we live on this earth, but the way God sees it…we’re already there because we’ve been painted with the blood of Christ. We aren’t the sole and only exception to the power of His transforming grace!! Every day that we choose to stand still beneath the flatscreen television and don’t go looking for socks and underwear to fill our drawers, we become a little more convinced that what He says is true. We are what He says we are. I am what He says I am. You are what He says you are. Believe it.