Sunday, February 27, 2011

Inconsistency Reflected In A Greenhouse ~ 2

The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Matthew 26:41

Good afternoon to everyone! I ended the lesson from Chapter 26 of Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parables by F. LaGard Smith yesterday promising to tell you how to dismantle the panes of glass that make up the greenhouse. Or, more precisely, dismantling the parts of yourself that are ugly and out of place--"pain by pain" as it were. You don't have to work alone on this project: God himself does the dismantling!

 LaGard says: "Jesus is at work in me, completing what he has already begun. As long as I live, he will continue to work with me so that who I am today is never the person I am yet to be. That which needs dismantling is being torn down. That which needs restoring is being built up." Good news for those who don't know how to dismantle their ugly parts.
In his beautiful chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul speaks of a different kind of glass--a mirror through which we dimly see ourselves. He says: "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." And LaGard sums it up by saying that looking at our present lives, we can know that "the person we see today is but a dim figure of the person that God has in mind for us to be." How does the metamorphosis take place?

Mainly it involves spiritual growth. You will quickly realize that spiritual transistion requires spiritual growth, as Paul says, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." Physical growth requires physical nourishment, and spiritual growth requires spiritual nourishment.
Looking down on the greenhouse, the outside is totally out of character with the landscape of the Cotswolds. But inside the greenhouse, tomatoes grow without the soil that we all believe essential to growing food. While the greenhouse remains a blight on the horizon, vegetables are mysteriously growing prolifically--more than they ever could under natural conditions. So what's the equivalent on the spiritual level?

On the spiritual level, the transformation--really a complete metamorphosis from natural to spiritual--happens with the same spirit that mysteriously raised Jesus from the dead! And the source of this power is seen in this passage: "If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."  Amazing! And truly miraculous!

God sees that you and I are out of character with His goodness and looks for ways to nurture us into newness. LaGard explains it this way: "Through His Spirit working in my innermost parts, God transforms my ugliness into beauty. He cultivates within me a transformed life that flourishes bountifully from the spiritual nutrients of His grace and love." Sounds like the vegetables in the greenhouse, doesn't it? Everything has to have the proper nutrients to grow!
And what did we learn about beauty in this parable? We learned that true beauty lies within--greenhouse or person--and not on the outside. God knows that! And letting God accomplish His plans for our lives will mean that we don't have to be a blemish on His spiritual landscape. With God nourishing our lives, there will be an explosion of spiritual growth that will go through the roof!

Blessings on this beautiful Sunday...Mimi




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