There’s this building at my church. It’s been getting a lot of attention lately. At least once a week, I get the same question.
“How’s that building looking?”
And, at least once a week, I lie.
It does not look good. Not at all. Mountain Dew and Red Bull cans are everywhere. Years from now, we’ll tell our grandkids that this country was built on Mountain Dew and Red Bull.
The concrete is torn up too. Right outside of my office door, where I used to park, the once smooth pavement is now a pile of rubble. Just outside of my window, there’s a Coke can. A man left it there the other day while he was talking to some woman on his phone and preparing to take a nap. I learned a lot about romance listening to one half of that phone conversation.
The building itself is a disaster too. Half of the bricks and most of the doors are missing. Inside, wires are hanging from every direction. In some places, you can see straight through to the other side of the building.
It’s not good.
It’s a disaster.
Sort of like me. And you.
Like when that guy in traffic pulled out in front of me and I held a grudge against him for the next five miles. My wife gave me a look. I told her that the guy needed to be taught a lesson. I sped up behind him. She gave me another look.
When is the last time you said something dumb? Something that you knew was dumb before you even said it but it came out anyway. You would fight another person if they talked to or about your wife that way. But it’s okay for you to say it.
Think about all of the scenes, comebacks and desires that play out in your head on a daily basis.
There’s something about us, even the best of us, that’s just not right. Something is missing. But there is good news.
God isn’t done with us.
That’s not to say that we can continue in our sin, letting go and letting God while resting in the fact that we’ll always be this way until Christ returns.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2 (ESV)
Instead, we should be motivated. If we truly belong to Christ we are in the process of being made more and more like him.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Colossians 3:9-10 (ESV)
Following Jesus on this earth is a process. A progressive process. It’s not an arrival. We never really arrive. Not until Jesus does and forever puts an end to sin, death and ugly incompletions.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23 (ESV)
But while we wait, we work. We work in full reliance upon the Spirit who guides us and helps us to be more like Jesus. Daily, we ask him to kill our lusts, skewed judgments, greed, score settling in traffic and hurtful words (Colossians 3:5-9). And under his sovereign care, we do the hard work of building up and restoration (Colossians 3:10).
I guess that I’m not really lying when I answer all of those people who ask about the new building that is being built right outside of my office. Sure, it is a mess. But that’s only half of the story. The job isn’t done yet. One day all of the bricks will be laid. The cans of Mountain Dew and Red Bull will be gone. The building will be complete.
We are not complete.
But God is not done yet.