The Main Street bridge a few blocks from where I live is undergoing major construction. They completely tore down the old structure to replace it with a newer, safer version. Building the new bridge seems to be taking forever!
It’s always nice to know the pavement you’re driving on is secure, so the idea of a new bridge sounded great . . . until I was inconvenienced by the road detours and extra traffic. And all the pounding and vibrations from the construction? Certainly not my choice of an alarm clock, that’s for sure.
The Bible tells us that it is because the Lord loves us that He disciplines us.
A few weeks ago, I crossed the river on an alternate route and looked over toward the construction to view the progress—which was, in my opinion, not a lot. The only evidence of a new bridge was two concrete cylinders. At this pace, I’ll be taking the long way to work for a very long time.
I know the new bridge will be wonderful, but in the meantime the inconvenience and construction noise is anything but wonderful. I’m ready for it to be done, particularly when there’s little headway to show for it.
Your Heart Is a Construction Zone
Did you know your heart is like that broken-down bridge under construction? We are fallen children that need God to change us (John 15:1–2). We don’t like the “construction” that takes place in our hearts when God begins to work on us because it’s painful, and we’re discouraged when we don’t see immediate improvement. It seems like such a long, unnecessary process.
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the day when His work is complete, when we understand the kindness He showed in fully restoring our broken-down hearts. I know that the discomfort and pain will be worth it all.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb. 12:11).
Sometimes, though, we mistake discipline for punishment and as a result become discouraged or depressed. We think God is angry with us or out to get us. But the Bible tells us that it is because the Lord loves us that He disciplines us.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives (Heb. 12:6).
When God confronts you with your sin and starts chipping away at your pride, you’re not being whacked and whittled down to size. You’re being lovingly crafted into the image of His Son.
When your life is crumbling like an old bridge, your value before God is not deteriorating. He will always love you and see you as perfect and complete through His Son.
It is when we lose sight of the cross that we begin to gauge our spiritual progress on how we measure up rather than on who we are.
It is when we lose sight of the cross that we begin to gauge our spiritual progress on how we measure up rather than on who we are. It’s called an identity crisis. (I’m preaching to myself, believe me.)
We convince ourselves that our worth is in our behavior and accomplishments, so we work our fannies off trying to “be good” only to find ourselves more miserable and discouraged than before.
But you know what?
- Your identity is not in what you think of yourself.
- Your identity is not in what you perceive others are thinking of you.
- Your identity is not in your performance or in your appearance.
- Your identity is not in how much “construction” is taking place inside or what your progress report says.
Your identity is in your position in Christ.
Kind of Like Being in an Airplane
I like how Pastor Eric Ludy illustrates this. He says being in Christ is kind of like being in an airplane.
When you’re in an airplane, you’re flying. You’re able to defy laws of gravity and move at supernatural speeds. But really, it’s not you who is flying, the plane is. You’re just along for the ride because you’ve placed yourself inside the plane.
When you are in Christ, you have the faith to move mountains and the ability to defy your sin nature.
Just like being in a plane, when you are in Christ, you have the faith to move mountains and the ability to defy your sin nature. This is not from some inner strength you muster up on your own; it’s the power of Jesus Christ at work within you. (This illustration can be found in Pastor Eric’s message titled “In Christ,” beginning at the 12:00 minute marker.)
When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you are accepting God’s gift of eternal life and become united with Him. All the love that the Father has for His Son is now yours! You’re a daughter of the King and fellow heir with Him (Gal. 3:26, Eph. 1:11). It’s not like back in the day when only the firstborn son inherited the family wealth. As children of God, we all receive an inheritance in heaven!
Our Father showers His children with ” every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” That means:
- In Christ you are forgiven and redeemed (Eph. 1:7).
- In Christ you are set free from sin and made alive in God (Rom. 6:11, Rom. 8:2).
- In Christ you are righteous before God (2 Cor. 5:21).
- In Christ you are not guilty or condemned (Rom. 8:1).
- In Christ you are loved by God forever (Rom. 8:38–39).
- In Christ you have eternal life (John 5:24).
In Christ, nothing you do can change God’s love for you. Because Jesus became human flesh and died a horrendous death on the cross, we are guiltless in God’s eyes. So even though we still make mistakes and even though our heart is often home to a construction zone, God looks at us and sees Christ, not our sin.
In Christ you can never be rejected.
Never plucked out of His hand.
You are always forgiven.
Always His precious possession.
Are you in Christ?
Have you placed your identity and worth in something other than Him?
For a fuller understanding of what it means to be in Christ, I encourage you to check out the following resources:
“The Stupendous Reality of Being in Christ” by Pastor John Piper
“In Christ” by Eric Ludy
“Freedom, Fullness, and Fruitfulness in Christ” by Blair Linne
Found in Him by Elyse Fitzpatrick