Today is the end of one season and the start of another. It’s officially the start of Autumn. We also have entered a new season: the school year. Here at Great Commission Schools, we are already half-way through the first marking period. I know what you’re thinking: “Didn’t we just get started?” Don’t worry, I’m thinking the same thing! It’s already been a couple weeks since the students and staff have graced these halls again and the first-round of progress reports will be sent out soon. Homework is being assigned, tests are being given, and projects are being completed.
It’s also nearing the end of another season as winter and colder, snowy days are in the near future: the end of roadwork and outdoor construction. I know at my house, I am fervently trying to finish up my outdoor projects because I know that the weather is bound to drastically change and put a hamper on doing much outside.
Why do I mention this? Because at Great Commission, we have spiritual theme each year that focuses on a portion of Scripture and our relationship with Christ. Our chapels are built around this theme and it is the main focus for our students outside of academia. This year our students and staff are focusing on being Under Construction.
No matter where you go, you are bound to see some type of construction being completed. In fact, just down the street from our school, another public school is undergoing major construction on building a new high school. It makes the journey to and from our school chaotic because of the lane closures and the number of workers walking to and from each site.
It was just a few days ago that I was driving to work and I was stopped in this traffic to allow for workers to cross the street. As I sat in my car and I waited, I surveyed the new building and noted how much progress has already been made in a short amount of time. Just as the one lane of traffic and the color of the construction cones drew my attention, the words Caution: Construction Zone, were just as loud and clear of its message.
As soon as I read those words, they pierced my heart and the truth came ringing clear: We all are in a personal current and active construction zone. We are being worked upon just as these men and women are working on the building. I'm pretty sure we all should have the orange cones in a perimeter around ourselves. There is a lot of work that God is doing inside of us. Sometimes it's safe to be around, but other times there are warning signs that tell you to proceed with caution.
Many times in our life, we become aware that some work needs to be done so that we can be changed, upgraded, or patched up. Sometimes we grow so content and comfortable with where we are in our spiritual walk with Christ that we fail to realize construction needs to be completed to make us more like Him. However, as Christians we are called to live just like Christ lived.
I love to dance. There is just something about it that draws my attention and desire. I never have confessed that I am a good dancer, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to dance. However, dancing around the construction work is not possible. There's no alternate route to get to where I am going. If my desire is to truly become more like Christ and to be transformed into His image, I have to travel the path that God has created for me.
Sometimes a new building needs to be built. Other times it may just need a little patch job in order to fix it up. There is a scraping, a resurfacing being done upon all our hearts. Your life, up to this point, has shaped you to be who you are now; all the good, bad, and indifferent. Over the years, you’ve probably had things occur that have caused some damage in areas of your life and frankly, they just need to be patched up.
For me, God's work zone begins where I end and if I am honest, this isn't easy. I don't think it will ever be easy. Instead of saying "Jesus take the wheel," I usually say, "That's okay, Jesus. I've got this one this time. I know where I am going" And almost inevitably, I get lost. I must get out of my own way to allow God to start chiseling away at my life and guiding me to the place where He wants me. God wants you to let Him start the construction process. Where in your life does His "work zone begin?" God never promised that the work of becoming more like Christ would be easy or quick. In fact, the work is deadly. You see, as we become more like Christ, we are called to die to our self, our flesh, the worldly things, and to put on a new self, put on Christ, to be like Christ in righteousness and holiness. This is not an easy task or one that can be done quickly.
Let's be honest. The construction takes a lot of work, it’s usually dirty, and it’s going to cost you something. Sometimes the construction time is short and sometimes it's long and arduous. Sometimes it may seem as though the work is never going to end (ha...just like Pennsylvania roadwork.), and just like Pennsylvania roadwork, once one project gets done, another one is started. You may be living in a way that you feel that many areas of construction are being done at the same time, but trust in the One who started the projects. The promise lies in the One who is the Construction Manager.
God knows you and me. He sees our life and knows just where to start a new construction zone or revisit an old construction site for some patch work. God's working is constant and true. He is faithful to do good works inside of you and me, but we must be willing to adjust the life we are living and the path we are traveling to follow the best laid out blueprint. That's not to say that you won't hit snags in construction or come upon some other obstacles, but you can rest assure knowing that following God's work is always the best route.
Sometimes I don't like that. Have I ever told you that I don't like stop signs or stop lights? I don't like traffic and I almost always choose the quickest route possible to get where I am going. With God, this is not possible. God's reconstruction of your heart and spirit are not "how quick can I get it done?" It's more about quality of work than speed of work. God is not hasty, nor does He do sub-par work; keep trusting. Stay confident. Don't allow yourself to believe the lie that the work God is doing in you is pointless. He promises to complete the good work He's started in us.
Just like any construction zone, we need to slow down and proceed with caution. If we try to rush it, we won't learn everything He's trying to teach us. Even worse, I could miss His presence and a chance to encounter God. If I don't proceed with caution, I won't be sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit and His direction. If my lights are on in the construction zone and I stay in the presence of the Light, darkness cannot overtake me and blind the process. I can fully see where I am going and what move to make next should an obstacle be in the way of my progress.
Unfortunately, we will never reach this point in this lifetime. Philippians 1:6 tells us "that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." This process; it's never-ending. This process; it's not always easy, but it's always worth it. The day God stops working inside of us to become more like Christ is the very day that we are called home to spend eternity with Him.
Caution. I am an active work zone. My transformation is not a single event, but a lifelong process to become more like Christ. God's working can be seen by the renewing of my heart. I am so thankful that God doesn't give up on me as quickly as I give up on myself. I am thankful that He doesn't run away from me as much as I want to run away from myself. Thank God that He is faithful and can see the end from the beginning. If it were me judging me, I would have wrote me off a long time ago. There is still hope for me. I don't have to stay where I am. I don't have to settle with what has already been done. Praise God that I am not who I used to be, praise Him all the more that who I am now is not even a close reflection of who He is creating me to be.
The same is true for you.
God is constantly at work in you. You are a work in progress and under construction. Allow Him to do the work He has set out to do. Don't fight the process, but instead trust the process. Learn in the process. Praise Him in the process. Thank Him for the process. Thank God that He doesn't leave you where you are but desires for you to become a better version of who you are.
Take this journey with us this school year as we learn that we are Under Construction.