I was ordained into the Baptist ministry forty-three years ago and since then have led churches and shared in the ministry of Ellel. However, during the pandemic onslaught and the lockdown it caused, I have not been involved in ministry, either in the local church or with Ellel. This has been challenging to me and has revealed areas of my life where change is needed. Some of that change involves painful work by God on my ‘inside’, and there is still further to go.
A short while ago, we went with some friends to pick wild blackberries from the hedges in local fields. The fruit was tasty but became even more so when it was turned into jelly (or ‘jam’, in the UK), which necessitated crushing, boiling and straining the fruit before it was right.
In 2 Corinthians 3 verse 18 Paul writes that, ‘we … are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’. I used to imagine that to be some sort of delightful remodelling, resulting in a glowing Jesus-like me, but the reality is that transformation is often uncomfortable and challenging. I am sure that the caterpillar doesn’t sit there in the chrysalis with a big grin on its face as it struggles to emerge into its metamorphosised newness.
Maybe you have been locked down recently and God is highlighting areas that need transforming in you. There may be a bit of boiling, crushing and straining ahead for you too. Be assured, however, that the result will be both pleasing to God, amazing to others, and even a blessing to you. In fact, it will be glorious. God sees the raw fruit on the hedgerows of our lives and also sees the transformed end product. So be encouraged as you may be going through the challenges of the transforming process.
Prayer: Lord, as I have opportunity to take things a bit easier than I used to do, please carry on the work of transforming us me You see fit. I want to be more like Jesus, and I confess that I am not yet there. Have Your way by Your Holy Spirit, I pray, Amen.
Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.