The truth is that we want the reward without the hard work and patience. However, we have been given quite the gift. Christ Jesus has given us the ultimate reward the moment we accept Him and receive justification for our sins.
I love watching a good home renovation show while I cook dinner. There is something wonderful about watching the before and after videos of the homes that were once falling apart, but are now stunning works of art. The show might take less than an hour to watch, but the actual reconstruction took many months.
We enjoy a good before-and-after shot, but most of the time we do not personally like the process of getting to the end result. The truth is a that there is a renovation that needs to happen within all of us.
When we see before and after pictures for a weight loss program, it can seem like a quick result. We love instant gratification. Our culture does not like lines and even has eliminated commercials through streaming services. The truth is that we want the reward without the hard work and patience. However, we have been given quite the gift. Christ Jesus has given us the ultimate reward the moment we accept Him and receive justification for our sins.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Before we accept Jesus, our hearts are sin-filled and headed for an eternity separated from God. When we think about the brokenness within ourselves and the great need for a Savior, we remember that we walked in darkness; we were slaves to sin, dead in our transgressions, but Christ brought us into His marvelous light. We are set free and now called His children; Jesus has made us alive.
It's like one of those home renovation shows when the couple picks the old dumpy home. Jesus has chosen broken us and paid the price for us to be His own.
Ezekiel 36:26 - “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Once becoming a follower of Christ, one of the greatest renovations that we all need is sanctification. Our sin-filled hearts are still filthy and suffering. We have salvation, but we are all in need of some spiritual remodeling. There is a lifelong sanctification that takes place as we grow in Him. The Holy Spirit is actively doing His best work within the hearts of willing believers.
This is not always fun, in fact it is often painful and frustrating. But when we know that we can trust the process because we can trust our Savior, it gives us the peace and a courage to surrender control to His working in our lives.
Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
I love this authentic prayer in the Psalms. We can ask this of God each day. “Lord, Create in me a clean heart. Renew a right spirit.” It is only by the power of the Spirit of God that we can live apart from our own selfish ways. We will be empowered to think on things of purity and holiness, to live out of the riches of His love, and to be steadfast in making choices that honor God. He can renew a right spirit.
We never lose the gift of the Holy Spirit, but we can ignore Him and neglect living by Him. This is why people say that we are to pray to be filled by the Holy Spirit each day so that we will not live within our own strength, but with His strength in us.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Another area of sanctification is by renewing our minds. Our thought lives can be some of the most sinful places that need a revamp. With the help of God, we can put on the mind of Christ, take thoughts captive, change from negativity to gratitude, and think on things that are noble and holy. We can worship the Lord with our minds each day. Even though within a split second we can sin again with a thought, we are able to continually renew our minds, pray and ask the Lord to redirect our thoughts.
This is the beauty of forgiveness. Christ has already covered all of our sins, and when we sin, He has already covered it. However, this does not give us an excuse to go about sinning and thinking sin-filled thoughts, but it motivates a believer to receive that grace, confess, and repent with God’s help. This is the nitty gritty of the walk of a Christian. It is the hard days and the trials for refinement. It is the questions and the difficulties which we face. It is the continual molding from the Potter with the clay.
Colossians 3:4 says, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Scripture makes it clear that our "eternal after shots” will be in heaven when our entire beings are glorified with Christ. We long for perfection here, but will never attain it. However, Jesus made a way for us to be accepted back into the presence of God. We are going to be made perfect in glorified bodies one day. We will no longer sin and we will be made completely holy before our glorious Creator. There will be no more difficulty, fear, shame, or death. Our sinful thoughts and hearts will be no more. We will be glorified with Him.
This is reason to celebrate that even though this renovation is never complete on this earth, one day, we will be made complete. As we await this beautiful future, may we not waste the process of renovating. May we press into the Holy Spirit’s work inside of our hearts and entrust Him with the spiritual tools to refine our hearts and make us more like Christ.
Philippians 3:20-21 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Klaus Vedfelt
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and they have been married for over a year. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She has the joy of being the host of Her Many Hats podcast where she explores the many roles that women play while serving One God.
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first published book on singleness. Emma also had the privilege of being a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com