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Posts Tagged ‘Romans 12:2’

Recently while at home recovering from Covid, I decided to tackle a jigsaw puzzle belonging to our daughter. Now, I am not usually a fan of such things. After all, why put ourselves through such torture to create a picture we can already see, only to pull it all apart when we finish?

I persevered for days with those thousand little pieces—at least, there should have been a thousand! Towards the end, I began to suspect I had lost a few—and, alas, I was right. Months earlier, our youngest granddaughter had helped me find all the edge pieces but had soon given up. In haste, I had bundled the puzzle back in the box, thinking we had not dropped any. Yet, days later, I can vaguely remember finding an odd piece or two on our carpet. Perhaps our vacuum cleaner had swallowed up even more pieces?

Whatever the case, when nearing the end of the puzzle, I realised none of those remaining pieces looked anything like the three I needed. However, I decided to keep going—and I’m glad I did.  Yes, finishing with an incomplete picture was disappointing. Yet in the process, I made some interesting discoveries.

For a start, I can now admit there may be something exciting and perhaps even addictive about finding the right piece, seeing it fit perfectly and watching that picture grow! This involved using a different part of my brain from that which I need when writing—a novel and refreshing experience indeed.

Then, to my surprise, I also discovered I could actually find the patience and perseverance required to complete this puzzle. Time and time again, I thought I had found the right piece, only for my hopes to be dashed—yet I was able to keep on trying. Perhaps this has to do with all the patience and perseverance God enabled me to have in recent years as I wrote and re-wrote and edited and re-edited entire manuscripts time and time again. And as I thought about this and thanked God for it all, I was also thankful for God’s own patience and perseverance with me over so many years.

My biggest discovery, however, was to realise how much unnecessary angst my perfectionist tendencies have often caused. Normally, I would have been much more annoyed about those missing pieces but, instead, I surprised myself with how calm I was—surely a clear indication of how God has changed me. It was as if God was saying, ‘See how far you’ve come? You did you very best with what you had. Well done!’ That picture I managed to put together, even with its three missing pieces, was still excellent—not perfect, but still excellent. After all, I had managed to match up all those pesky, cat-hair pieces with the right cat—quite a feat, in my opinion, and one I thought several times might well be impossible!

We can learn from God through every circumstance in life, big or small. I hope I continue to do this as I walk through the coming year with God—and I hope you can too.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2a NLT

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I wonder if you can think of some treasured item in your parents’ or grandparents’ home that you wished would not be displayed so prominently? In my sister’s case, it was a framed set of photos my mother absolutely loved. These large photos took pride of place on her lounge room wall and depicted my sister and me at various ages and stages of our lives. There was one of each of us when we were around twelve months old. Below were photos of the two of us together, one when my sister was seven and the other at fourteen. Below them were again individual photos of us, resplendent in mortarboard and gown at our university graduation and finally, one of each of us on our wedding day. I was reasonably happy with the photos, but my sister hated the whole idea of them.

When our mother passed away, my sister ended up with the photos, still in their frame, but kept them out of sight. Then recently when I was visiting, she decided it was time to make some final decision about them. Should they remain in their frame or should we dismantle the whole thing?

We decided on the latter. With great glee she undid the back of the frame and removed the offending photos from their mountings. We then divided them up and she put the empty frame together again, wondering even as she did if it was worth keeping.

A few days later, she received an intriguing article in the mail. It turned out to be a beautiful, large cross-stitch my cousin had completed and sent to her, together with a hundred dollars for the mounting and framing.

Well, you guessed it! To my sister’s amazement, our mother’s old frame turned out to be exactly the right size for the cross-stitch! And she was even more amazed when she discovered the total cost, using the old frame, would be very close to one hundred dollars. As well, our cousin remembered vividly the photos my mother used to have on her wall for all those years and was delighted the cross-stitch would now be featured in that same frame.

As I reflected on this interesting sequence of events, it occurred to me that God is in this ‘reframing’ business too. When we come to know God, our external ‘frame’ does not change – but something definitely changes on the inside. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul declares:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry or reconciliation, that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.

As my sister and I looked at our old photos, we could see how we had changed over the years. But that’s nothing compared to the radical change God brings about in our very soul and spirit. And this change continues as we allow our minds to be transformed and renewed as well and thus live in the way God wants us to (Romans 12:2).

Yet God’s ‘reframing’ cost much more than the hundred dollars my sister was given. In fact, it cost Jesus Christ, God’s Son, his very life. What an amazing, gracious gift!

I hope the ‘picture’ my life makes now draws people to God and does not repel them. I hope the likeness is there and that God is recognisable in my life ‘photo’.

How about you?  

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