I long to cut away every character flaw that is not of God until I am the person He created me to be, a reflection of His Son. But I know it is a work of the Spirit, and takes time. It’s the chiseling process, similar to a sculptor with a chunk of marble creating a work of art.
Renaissance artist Michelangelo worked on his sculpture of David from 1501-1504.
The word of God is the chisel.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 ESV
As I write today, the Holy Spirit is chiseling at my tendency to become frustrated, an expression of distress and annoyance that is triggered when plans are foiled and all my efforts have no impact. According to yahoo.com people are especially vulnerable to frustration when they lack the ability to change or achieve something. This description is very fitting, for frustration does kick in when I struggle to change or achieve an outcome.
Recently, I tried to join a scheduled Zoom meeting but had difficulty getting in because the web address in the email message wasn’t set up to allow automatic access. When I pasted it into the location bar, it didn’t work. I typed the problem into the Zoom chat and followed their instructions, but wasn’t successful. Finally, I was told to try a different browser which solved the problem, but I joined the meeting about 20 minutes late.
Did this experience activate that feeling of frustration? Yes! My thoughts toward the person who had organized the meeting were less than kind.
The Holy Spirit began the chiseling process with a question posed in a Bible study I am doing with other women in my church. Which command is burdensome, or difficult, I was asked. Immediately, the Spirit reminded me of “the way of love” described in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. There are only two words which describe what love is… patient and kind.
The Spirit’s message to me was simple, “love is patient and kind” (1 Cor. 13:4a) The agitation that results from frustration is neither patient nor kind.
In the space allowed for the answer I wrote: “If I am easily frustrated, I am not patient. Therefore, I am not acting in a loving manner.”
There was a second part to the question—“What does this reveal about your understanding of the loving fatherhood of God?”
I realized that my loving Father does not get frustrated with me, but patiently teaches. If I am to reflect my heavenly Father to others, I will show patience.
Does this knowledge instantaneously correct my behavior? Most likely not. But now that I am aware of my behavior, I can recognize situations that cause frustration and determine to exercise patience. It will need to be developed but we are told to practice righteousness in 1 John 3:7 and I know mastery comes with practice. I learned how to ride a bicycle by practicing. I learned how to type by practicing. I learned how to drive by practicing.
And thus, I will learn patience with practice. Collecting all the Scriptures that teach this virtue, studying and memorizing them so the Holy Spirit can chisel away all that is not of God and hone me into Christ’s image.
1-Is there something the Holy Spirit is chiseling at the moment? What is emerging?
2-Looking back over your walk with Christ, what characteristics of His have you developed that you didn’t have before you knew Him as Lord and Savior?