Don't you just wish sometimes (let's be real here) that God would wave a magic wand and all of our human defects and personal problems would magically disappear? No more lying, no more insecurity, no more trust issues, no more debt, no more relationship conflict. How about it Lord, can we go back to the Garden of Eden and have a do-over?
Does it ever bother you, as it does me, that those same whack-a-moles of defects we whacked at one time keep popping back up? I loved playing that game at Chuck-E-Cheese, but in real life it is discouraging that they seem to pop up just when we think we are in the clear. Just like Paul's thorn in his side. Like him, we ask God to remove it.
The makeover from destruction to construction is filled with accidents, modifications, and bad weather. As we say in the program, we strive for progress, not perfection. The best analogy for me to bring comfort to this process of change is in John 15........
"I am the true grapevine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more."
Cutting, pruning, these words indicate pain, not a magic wand. And pain in letting go of false survival skills, manipulative behavior, and things like lying to make ourselves look better all have to go. And when the gardener prunes what's left, we begin to look like a fruit bearing person rather than one who steals the fruit. The makeover happens only through that process of pain and ultimate gain.
Jesus goes on to comment in that same scripture how the makeover remains a makeover:
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me."
Think you can do this alone, isolating and becoming absent? Think again. A makeover requires someone who can make you over. It requires submission to the process without our direction. And it requires frequent gardener visits to keep all the landscape looking beautiful.
You look great! By the way, who is your gardener?
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.