Holy Face Plants and Bearing Real Fruit–the glorious mess of being a disciple

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15

16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:16-18

There is the love I had for my husband when we were seconds into saying I do, with shiny rings and -59 cents in our bank account. Then there’s the love I have 27 years later–after stretch marks, getting lost in the mountains, and more than one scratch on those same rings. I only thought I knew what love for my husband was. 

The same concept applies to life with Christ. We have the opportunity to be lifelong learners. We are new creations, yet, still cooperating with God’s Spirit to die to self and reflect God’s nature. Ephesians 4:14-15 and 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 are just two places where God’s word reveals a process of eluding falsehood and allowing God’s love to mature us so we think, speak, and act like Jesus. 

And, that is good news to me. 

God gets it that we are a work in progress. 

But, the call to move deeper and more refined–more like Him– remains.

Jesus said that when we bear fruit, we show ourselves to be his disciples. (John 15:8) Yet, sometimes I get a little ahead of myself and suppose I’m further along than I might be. Can you relate?

Case in point.

This summer I was pushing a family member on a wheelchair through a crowded airport. My muscles ached and I was exhausted. But, this is a family member. Who needed our help. And I love Jesus. And, one of the fruits of the Spirit is patience. 

So I pushed. And I got on an elevator. And pushed some more. And then I started hoping my husband would see what a great wife I was. What a spiritual giant. What an epic display of patience and sacrifice!  

Also, I am in so much pain. My feet hurt. I can’t form complete sentences. Why isn’t my college age son pushing the wheelchair? 

Eventually we made it to the gate.

Where God and I had a moment. A holy one. Like when you trip and face plant a wall.

This family member said how being in a wheelchair in public made her feel vulnerable and dependent. So exposed. So different than when she could do things like walk fast with no pain.  She wasn’t being vain. This being in a wheelchair was unpleasant on an existential “I can’t believe this is my life” level.

All of a sudden, memories of when she forgave me, didn’t say anything when my sons broke stuff in her home, and she helped my husband and me pay rent flooded my mind.  I could push her back and forth from one side of the airport to the other for the next ten years, and not come close to being as patient towards her as she had been to me.

Ohh…

I was being the less mature kind of patient–the kind with selfish strings attached.   If I’m a disciple of His, I’m submitting to God, and getting rid of tangential fruit, allowing authentic ones, such as no strings attached patience (or love, joy, self-control, forgiveness…) to grow. God showed me in that crowded airport that His idea of patience is when I allow His grace to flow through it.

I’m maturing. “Being transformed.” That holy and convicting state of being in the process of transformation.

The scalpel of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word corrects. Yet, also awakens and protects from living in ignorance. From being tossed back and forth, deceptively thinking I have arrived. 

If you are in Christ, God’s word says there is no veil on your face! Nothing blocks you from seeing what you are supposed to transform into except your own will. As His child, you get to gaze deeply into His glory. You get to be transformed simply by being His. Spend time with Him, listen, respond–and He sandpapers off the rough edges from your thought life, words, and actions. 

It comes down to people interacting with us, or people getting a chance to interact with the character of Jesus Christ in us.  Stay immature in the walk, and people get more of us. 

Humble ourselves and mature, and people get more of Him.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. rly0707 says:

    Oh, Julie….I loved the honesty of your post! I understood your point. I laughed (59 cents in bank account) at your ability to smile at yourself. You are always enriching others with your thoughts and words. I love you!

    Like

  2. Allison Vollenweider says:

    This is good Julie! I was cracking up when you were describing the thoughts in your head about pushing your family member in the wheel chair. When I read the word transform in this, I picture this 🦋.

    Love you!

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Allison! May God keep on transforming those thoughts in my mind until I am patient the way He wants….

      Like

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