Freedom to Become
October 8, 2019
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory…” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV 1984).
He pulled me aside after I had spoken to a group in the Midwest. He was short, stocky, 70 and built like a brick, a hard man who seemed pleasant, soft-spoken and at peace with life. “May I tell you something?” He asked. “I know this is not your business and I have been going to another doctor with this, but you speak like someone I can talk to.” He continued. “You know all those stories about the priests and young boys? I was one of those boys. Some bad things happened to me when I was young. And I grew up and did some bad things. Now I’m trying to live well and relate to my wife in a good way, but it’s hard.”
We know very few people very well. All of us, all of our patients, all of our neighbors have a past. Our past has formed us in ways that have been carved in stone and made us who we are. Many carved lines are beautiful, like a mother’s kiss each night. Others are dark and painful like my patient’s story, and perhaps some of yours.
People like to claim their power to overcome, their power to be who they want to be; and, as humans, we certainly have some flexibility to do so. But that flexibility is more like a knight confined to a full suit of armor rather than a gymnast flying through the air on her floor routine. In a fallen world we will mostly become what life has made of us, statues carved by our experiences from a block of DNA: Michelangelo’s David or gargoyles on the Notre Dame Cathedral.
We will be what life has made us—unless there is a God who is greater than our experiences, smarter than our DNA, a God who created us with purpose, in His image, a God who can change our carved stone to clay and remold us into His likeness in spite of life’s past circumstances.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis describes our biological lives of frozen stone and the God who can transform us into flexible, Spirit-filled lives, regardless of the way our past has carved us: “This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.”
Only God can free us from the statue that life has formed of us. And, as we surrender to that Master Sculptor, day by day we “are being transformed into his likeness,” for His service and glory.
Thank You that You are my Overcomer.