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Relationships: God's Hammer and Chisel

Updated on August 14, 2018

One chip closer to the image of Christ.

God is the great sculptor who takes the stone of our character and transforms it into the image of Christ.
God is the great sculptor who takes the stone of our character and transforms it into the image of Christ.

I attend First Baptist Church in Palm Coast Florida. An imperfect church full of imperfect people like me. Even so, I am grateful for my church family, those people who have invested themselves in my life and spiritual welfare. We have gone through a lot together over the last couple of years. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

God uses this group of people to shape my character. Everyone in the church has their own way about them, something that makes them unique. This diversity draws me out of my comfort zones, forcing me to interact. My relationships with folks grow little by little as we learn to embrace each others differences and love each other despite our faults. My character is formed through these relationships. Learning how to be a part of the bride of Christ and conforming my ways to God’s way.

In most cases this process is relatively easy; I can effortlessly interact and relate to the majority.They are kind and loving and add joy to my life, just as I endeavor to add to theirs. However there are always those folks that God brings along that force me to change quicker and to a greater degree then I am prepared for. Adding to my character by Forcing me to become kinder, gentler and more patient then I previously thought possible.

Romans 8:29 tells us that we are being conformed into the likeness of Christ. I like to think of God as the great sculptor who is taking the stone of our character and transforming it into the image of Christ. He uses our relationships both in the church and out, as a hammer and chisel, striking at the bits of our character that has no value. At best, the process is uncomfortable, at worst, it is excruciating, but the end result is always beautiful bringing us one chip closer to the image of Christ.

Church Family

A Failure To Bond

A ship was sailing past a remote island and discovered a man who had been stranded there for several years. They went ashore to rescue the man and noticed he had built three huts for himself. They asked him, "What is the first hut for?"
He said, "That's my house."
"Ok, so what's the second hut for?"
"That's my church."
"Ok, so what's that other hut over there for?"
"Oh... that. That's the church I used to go to."

One difference between those in my family and those outside, is that, I am bonded to my family. I can’t simply walk away from my relationship with them. Despite their character flaws, I love them. I am willing to be wronged by them. I find it easy to say Good-bye and good riddance to those who mean nothing to me.

As much as I enjoyed the joke above, it speaks to a very serious problem; Our tendency to be easily offended. I would add, a lack of Commitment, and a failure to bond. It’s easy to leave a church when the folks in it mean nothing to you.

In every church I have ever attended, I have been offended. The times that I threw my hands up and walked out, never to return, were in churches that I was unable to form meaningful relationships.

I have come to see my church friends as a part of my extended family. In varying degrees, I have invested in them, just as they have invested in me. Originally, our faith brought us together, but grace and determination bind us together.

In moments of offence, leaving a church makes me feel better for the moment. However, I found that same offense waiting for me in my next church. I can’t run from God’s Hammer and Chisel, He is going to use relationships, wherever I am, to conform me into the image of Christ.

Dear friend, once you find a church you are happy with, dig in and form meaningful relationships. Bond with those around you. Be willing to be wronged by them, and purpose to love them when they offend you. You are not alone; God is asking them to do the very same things toward you.

Something to Think About

Offenses reveal our sin nature; how we respond to them reveal the progress God has made in shaping our character. God uses the people around us to expose our character flaws. I am learning that the sooner I learn to love my offender the sooner God puts away his Hammer and chisel.

Remember, love never fails

Your Brother in Christ

ABR

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    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I think we all need each other and so it hurts when someone leaves the church or quit going to any church because they got offended or things didn't go the way they thought it should. They will say,"Well, I'll go to a church that does or does not do what the church I just left does or doesn't do." Or "I'm going to a new church where people are nicer..." Or, a person says " I watch sermons on the internet and I have fellowship with church friends when we have coffee together." The first two are going to be disappointed at some point (usually) because the next church will do something else that offends. The last scenario takes the verse about do not forsake the assembling together and twists it to justify their leaving. Internet church is not assembling together with the saints, and fellowship isn't just having coffee with friends. Yet I feel for them because some of them have been seriously hurt. But the church needs those people. I said to one such person, what if everyone who got hurt in church decided to stop going to church? Gulp. There wouldn't be a church. I'm still praying for this individual. Great hub.

      Speaking of hammer and chisel, Bebo Norman wrote a wonderful song called Hammer Holds and speaks about how God is chiseling and hammering to mold him into what God wants him to be. It's a very moving song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HcHYWI4df4

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 

      4 years ago from Australia

      Great thoughts. We are both influenced and influencers in life. I find one of the challenges is to only reciprocate the good done us, not the wrong. To maintain a positive influence in the face of negative received. Voted up

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 

      4 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      It's like looking into a mirror image of yourself. Sometimes you wonder who that person your facing is, in other peoples eyes.

      It's like trying to cut your own hair. It's not that easy!

      It's like having a constructive conversation with yourself!Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

    • sradie profile image

      sradie 

      4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      How refresthing to read your thoughts on the body life of the New Testament church. I agree that probably more often than not, our character needs the blow of the hammer and chisel to break off the rough edges. Even after all these years, I find that as a mature Christian, there is much work that God continues to do. Often times, he accomplishes that through others with whom I come in contact. Sometimes a gentle rebuke, sometimes a harsh blow but always in love. I find that within a body of like-minded believers the gentle rebuke is the most frequent but like Paul, sometimes the harsh rebuke comes from the Holy Spirit within. Blessings brother, keep up the good work.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      "

      Offenses reveal our sin nature; how we respond to them reveal the progress God has made in shaping our character." Simple statement - much to think about. Although I'm bonded to my church family, I never thought of it that way before. Thank you for opening my eyes, Brother.

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