I was scrambling to make my exit to church, arms loaded, when my Bible hit the stairs with a thud.
“Sorry, YiaYia,” I uttered aloud. This was my immediate response, to my dear grandmother long deceased.
Because she taught me from a young age that the Bible is holy and should never be put on the ground. It should be treated with care and respect. (If only she saw my Bibles now—all tattered, crumpled, and marked up!)
I carried on, with quite the chuckle. But it set my mind to thinking . . .
Some things are so deeply ingrained within us, that we don’t even realize they’re there. Until all of a sudden and unaware something springs to the surface, much like a gopher from his hole. (Or thoughts of my grandmother when I dropped my Bible.)
There are beliefs hidden deep within us—which is precisely why our sanctification is a life-long work of the Spirit. He faithfully shines the light of Jesus in our hearts, bringing to the surface those things that are hidden. Hidden in the darkness by satan. By pride, refusing to bring them to the light because we think they’re not that bad. By denial, because we refuse to acknowledge their existence. Or because our hearts are so hard that it takes time to chip away the many buried layers.
But our Father, our Redeemer, and the Spirit continually work on transforming us into the masterpiece He created.
It starts with honestly realizing our true condition. Dane C. Ortlund wrote, in his book Deeper, “When we see how desperately sick we are and how profoundly short we fall of the glory for which God intended us, we have already taken the first decisive step in bridging that vast gulf between who we are and who we were made to be.” But that honesty cannot come from ourselves, for our vision, judgment, and opinion are skewed and corrupted as well. It can only be seen by the Light of the Lord, in comparison to Him.
Within our bodies dwells an ingrained nature. Oswald Chambers writes, “The most profound thing in a person is his will.” That willfulness has also been subjected to the Fall, to become a sinful nature, proud and stubbornly opposed to God. But God reveals and convicts us of that underlying nature.
Then we must choose what to do with that awareness.
Chambers goes on to write elsewhere, “The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature.” Our fallen human condition requires extermination. Or, put biblically, crucifixion. We must determine to lay down our lives so that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Those sinfully ruined grains of our ingrained nature are removable under His tender and gracious hand. It is God’s will to do so for those who belong to His Son. And also in accordance with His promise (Ezekiel 11:19-20). However, He doesn’t work against the grain. He restores an eternal image within.
The image of God is more deeply etched upon us. And more true of us than the layers built upon it from sin, a fallen nature, and the world. In loving grace and resurrecting power, God is bringing that image more and more into the light—to reflect His glory and holiness.
Holiness was valued by my grandmother. But even more so by God. He has called us “out of darkness and into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). When we honestly allow His light to expose those things deeply ingrained, we can surrender them for His removal.