Sometimes, we don’t understand what God is doing. Things come into our lives, and we ask, “Why?” And yet, we’re assured that God knows exactly what He’s doing. He shows us the big picture, but we may not understand it. When the Hebrew children started walking around Jericho, they didn’t know what was going to happen. They knew that God was going to give them the land that was now inhabited by the evil decedents of Ham, but God just told them to march around the city once a day for seven days and to blow the trumpets on the seventh day. They were obedient, and the walls fell.
In the same way, we don’t know what God is doing at each moment in our lives. However, He’s given us His overall vision of what He’s doing. He’s working everything for His good purpose. Consider Romans 8:28-29:
“And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.”
God is orchestrating everything in our lives for our good, for the purpose that He has for us because He has a plan to transfigure us into the image of His Son. That’s no small task when we consider what we’re like right now. We aren’t very godlike. We’re often disobedient to Him, and it seems as if we slip into sin very easily.
But God has a plan.
He plans that to change us from glory to glory. We read in 2 Corinthians 3:18:
“And we all having been unveiled in face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Through this verse, God tells us a little bit about His process for changing us, for transforming us, for transfiguring us. When God speaks and we listen, faith comes. Faith gives us access to His grace, and grace does His righteousness through us, but we must yield the members of our bodies to His grace instead of yielding to our fleshly natures. When we do, our fleshly nature loses its grip on us. We become less enslaved by it. At the same time, the Holy Spirit builds up Christ within us. This process of dying to self and living to Christ is the process of spiritual maturity.
When God speaks, He speaks a vision of His hope. We look as if looking into a mirror, and see who we are in Christ. We each see the ministry that He has created us to be. It may be unclear, but we see a glimpse of it moment by moment as He speaks. We also see the body of Christ with all the gifts, ministries, offices, and orders. We see our brothers and sisters but not after the flesh. We see them after the spirit. We see a glimpse of the ministry in each one. Not only that, but we see how we fit into the body of Christ and what we’re supposed to be doing right now.
God doesn’t show us everything at once. He gives us what we need for each moment. If we yield to His Spirit in the moment, He gives us power both to will and to do His good pleasure. He knows the plans that He has for us, plans of good and not of evil. He imparts His gift of righteousness to us.
All of this has one purpose: our transfiguration into the image of His Son.
Something in the nature of reality prevents God from just fixing us without our involvement. He doesn’t force Himself on us. He waits for us to yield ourselves to Him willingly. That means that the process is slow since our fleshly wills are strong and the flesh wants its own way.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have a theoretical faith and theoretical obedience? We would just tell God that we love Him and that we trust Him. Then we would commit ourselves to doing His will. No trouble would ever come our way. We would never be tested, tried, or tempted. However, that wouldn’t finish the work that God has for us. We must choose to obey Him in spite of the test, trial, or temptation.
Gold is a type of deity. God tells us a lot about refining gold in Scripture. We have Christ abiding within us ever since we were born again. Since that moment, we’ve been in a war between the flesh and our spirits—our spirits have been forever joined to the Spirit of Christ. Christ is deity, which is typified by gold. But the Gold must be refined, and gold is refined by heating it.
When we obey the Holy Spirit under the heat of the test, trial, or temptation, the Holy Spirit makes increase of our gold, which is Christ in us. At the same time, our fleshly nature dies a little. Theoretical obedience isn’t enough. We must be found faithful in the fire. However, the reward isn’t worthy to be compared to the glory that God will reveal in us.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ~ Romans 8:18