When I was a new believer, my church had weekly prayer meetings where we would sit around a grand piano to sing and worship God. Sometimes there would be a teaching. Often people would share what they believed God was saying, either in words, a Scripture, or something they “saw.” I had a girlfriend who would often see herself in a field of wild flowers, the sun shining, and she was just looking up, smiling, twirling around with her hands out… enjoying the Presence of Jesus …or something similar. I was jealous! I wanted to “see” or “hear” too. But … I still loved these weekly meetings, just praising God and soaking in His Presence.
One week I asked God to show me something. And He did… a bentwood rocker. My initial reaction was a disappointing “Great! She sees herself in fields of flowers… and I only see a bentwood rocker! Is that all?” Did I mention I was very young-in-the-Lord? I was so embarrassed at the “un-spirituality” of this, that I didn’t share it with the group.
Back then, we would sing this song:
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me,
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me
I loved singing this song… but it scared me to death! What would God do to “break” me? Disease? Ridicule? Tragedy? I just “knew” it would be something horrible! The idea of God “breaking me” was terrifying. You see, my Dad had told me several times that he would “break” me. Did I tell you I was not a model child? Dad wanted compliant… and I was anything but!
As I pondered why God would show me a bentwood rocker, I remembered something I’d learned from my Dad… (yes, the same Dad.)
If you want to bend a piece of wood, you can break it every inch or so… and it WILL bend … but you will lose the strength of the wood in the process. But… if you soak the wood in water – sometimes hot water – then bend it to a form… when it dries it will be conformed to the shape of the mold … and it will still have the strength of the wood!
The world uses the first method to make us fit into its mold. Anything… or anyone … that doesn’t conform to what is “acceptable” and “politically correct”, will either be broken to conform… or thrown away. Natural, God-given strengths just get in the way of the world’s agenda … or get twisted until we are but a shadow of what we are intended to be.
Not so with God. Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We are still called to be conformed – but not to the world … to the image of Jesus. Just like children resemble their fathers, we are to resemble our Father… and our brother, Jesus!
Does the idea of being molded make the hair on the back of your neck stand up? You want to be you! What is wrong with the way you are? You can’t take a square peg and shove it into a round hole… and when that square peg is us, it hurts and we rebel. We all say we want to be our own person … but we try so hard to fit in … to be “in style”… to “keep up with the Jones’” … to be with the “in crowd.” The world will attempt to conform us – and it doesn’t care if it “breaks” us in the process! Just fit in… and don’t rock the boat!
What does the verse above … from Romans 12 actually mean? Here are my thoughts.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world…
If I had to pick one word to define the pattern of this world, it would be “selfishness.” This shows itself in many ways, but it is basically thinking of myself way too much … what I want … when I want it … how I want it. It is striving for what I think is good for me … worrying about what people think of me, etc., etc., etc.! If I don’t take care of me … and watch out for me … who will? And, of course, the “golden rule” …Do unto others before they do unto me.
We don’t really have to learn to be this way. It comes absolutely naturally … the day we are born. And my selfishness bumps into your selfishness, which is bumping into someone else wanting their way. Picture a big bumper car arena … but people getting hurt … not fun! Can we say “conflict and strife?” Yuk!
…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
It doesn’t actually say it here, but I think it implies “conform to the pattern of God’s kingdom” … by being transformed by the renewing of your mind. What does that mean … and how does it work?
How can we know the pattern of God’s kingdom? We just need to look at Jesus. We are told in Romans that God wants us to be “conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Again Paul writes in the book of Galatians “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Jesus is the pattern, and He didn’t have a selfish bone in His Body.
By reading the bible, especially the Gospels and Acts, we can get to know the character of God — Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. But working to make ourselves like Jesus is impossible! We cannot practice “spiritual yoga” and bend ourselves into shape … and we are prone to cracking!
But, if we are soaked in the water of the Word of God … and the water of the Holy Spirit, we can be shaped and molded to be more and more like Jesus. Do we lose our personalities? Do we all become round pegs … all looking alike … Christian robots? No. God gave us each personalities and strengths. He made each of us unique. Everyone’s fingerprints are different from everyone else’s. He doesn’t even make two snowflakes the same, so why would He take away our individuality?
As we spend time with Jesus, reading His Word, we learn to trust God to guide us, to love us, to protect us, to give us what we need… and when. We learn to love others with God’s love. Reading His Word is different from reading other books. His Word has power. If we let it sink in … about 12 inches from our heads to our hearts … it will do the changing we need.
So, soaked in the water of the Holy Spirit, and soaked in the water of the Word, we will be changed… without cracking, without losing either our identity or our personality! We can be molded, like the bentwood rocker, into the beautiful image of Jesus.
Thank you that I don’t have to worry
about You breaking me to pieces.
Thank You for Your unending love.
Lord, please form the character of Jesus in me.
I want to be so absolutely waterlogged in Your Spirit
That I splash onto everyone I meet.
In Jesus’ Precious Name,
2 thoughts on “The Rocking Chair”
Terry, once again you are so on Target. I love the simple way you explain seemingly complicated things.
I agree with Sharon. Makes me want to be rocking with God. Love the visual of being soaked before bent. Goodness.
Keep it up.