A Work In Progress

by: Courtney A. Hulsey

“He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be…” Do you remember this childhood song? I sure do, but there’s something I didn’t know.  Hidden away a couple of stanzas down from the opening line is this: “There really ought to be a sign upon my heart: Don’t judge me yet, there’s an unfinished part. But I’ll be better just according to His plan, fashioned by the Master’s loving hands.”

Our sanctuary renovation is done.  The walls have been painted, the carpet replaced, the pews reupholstered.  Flowers have been planted, the grounds have been tended to, the parking lot repaved.  She [the church] is beautiful. But when the renovation started, it was not beautiful at all.  It was quite chaotic.  Tools and materials were everywhere. Everything was dusty.  It was hard to envision what the outcome might look like. 

Aren’t we the same? When Christ is allowed to become King of our hearts, we enter into a refinement process; a renovation, if you will.  Walls are torn down and foundations are replaced.  It is hard for us to envision what we might finally look like after all the renovating is done. The process is not a pretty one. As God begins to chisel away at our old selves, we stand in the midst of rubble and dust, pain and heartache. 

Scripture, particularly the Old Testament, makes references to God ‘refining’ His people like gold.  Gold refinement is a long, tedious process.  The gold is heated to extreme temperatures to allow the impurities to rise to the top.  Then, those impurities are scraped off the top.  This refinement process is repeated several times until only the purest, most valuable gold is left behind.

God is constantly working on us, refining us, both as individual worshippers, and as the body of Christ.  It is not always a clean or tidy process, and it is often times painful and humbling.  He allows us to sit in the fire and He patiently waits for our impurities and imperfections to surface.  He removes those imperfections, and then allows us to repeat the process. Why? So that our faith can be proven genuine. Our faith is of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though it’s refined by fire. [1 Peter 1:7]

Until the glorious return of Christ, we will always have unfinished parts; we will always be in a work in progress.  God will always refine our faith in some way.  Just as our Sanctuary is beautiful and will draw the community in; so we are – where Jesus is lifted high, He will draw all men and women unto Himself.