If you have been reading my blog, then you know that this year I have set out to really start focusing on God in everything I do. It has already meant making some really tough decisions. That being said, it's not easy. Earlier this week, I was praying about one of these tough decisions and asked God, "When does it start getting easier? When will I get "there"?" ("there" meaning that point where you trust God without even a hint of doubt, where everything you do is Christlike and you would honestly have to work harder at sinning than being Christlike). I wanted to know, when will I know if I have gotten "there", so I asked my question and here is what happened:
Immediately after asking, I was given a vision that I am going to do my best to describe to you -
A man was standing next to me. He had long gray hair held back in a low ponytail. He also had a long gray mustache and beard. He was dressed in a light blue and purple robe-like gown. I knew this man represented the Holy Spirit. He spoke to me as if directly answering my previous question. I could hear his voice, but it was not coming from the man's mouth. As I heard him speaking, we turned to look behind us and he stretched out his arm to show me myself in the past. I was dirty and wearing rags. I was hunched over and a long thick chain was attached to my heart. The chain hung down to somewhere I could not see, but I could see that it went through fire. Both the chain and me had been blackened by the smoke of the fire. The man was saying, "Your heart was bound by sin to the pit of hell." As he continued to speak, we turned back around, and we were standing in the front entrance of a castle. I had been cleaned and given new clothes. "You were bought by the King to serve Him. I was given to you to help prepare your heart. Until...". While the man spoke these words I saw he and I working to serve the King together. It had been years and we had grown close. He was my most trusted friend. At one point we stopped and were looking at my heart. It looked like the actual organ in our bodies. Most of it looked like new healthy tissue, but some of it, while now clean, still remained damaged. We were assessing which of the damaged areas we were now going to begin working to prepare (the new healthy parts, had been changed over those many years). "...He determines that you are ready." This time the words were coming directly out of the man's mouth and he was speaking directly to me. I was ushered into the throne room. The room was long with a very high ceiling. The walls were ornate with paintings of His Creation. There were six marble pillars, three on each side that stood floor to ceiling. At first my view was from behind the throne, which sat up on a sort of stage with steps leading up to it. It was very tall and made out of gold. Then my viewpoint went around the room to where I was standing, as if seeing it through my eyes. As I looked toward the throne all I could see was the brightest, whitest, purest light I had ever seen. I knew I was looking upon God's holy face. In that brief flash of light, the vision was over.
Although it may seem like it was very long, It probably did not last more than a minute.
I immediately understood that God was answering the question I had asked. The answer was that like He promises in Philippians 1:6 that "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of completion." That day of completion is the day that we are called home to be with Him.
But just as I had looked at my heart in the vision and could see that there were still parts that were damaged, yet He had determined it was time; when He calls us home, there may still be areas of our lives that are damaged by sin and still need to be renewed in Christ, but all of our heart has been washed clean by Christ's blood.
We will not reach Christlike perfection here on this earth, but as we live to serve our King we need to be working with the Holy Spirit to allow Him to prepare our hearts for the day we stand face to face with Holiness.
Basically, the answer to my question was that when I get "there", I will not longer be on this earth. Which means that my whole life will be spent becoming more and more Christlike because He promised to continue the work He started. That may seem daunting to some, but I had such great relief!
I'm not sure if it was relief that I don't have to hold myself up in comparison to someone else who I may have thought has made it "there" (because really they haven't) and be overwhelmed by the areas of my heart that I know still need renewed. Or if it was the refreshing hope that as I continue to work closely with the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to assess the areas of damage and guide me, and walk in obedience, serving my King, He will continue to renew those damaged places until the day He calls me home.
I know the road ahead will be long and tough. But I continue on with fervent zeal and eyes fixed on Christ alone!