The Wrecking Ball

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There was once a church pastor who used to give an impassioned, exciting altar call which would end with this ear-catching line — “Come to Jesus and let Him wreck your life.” Gets your attention, doesn’t it?! I actually pondered that simple line for quite sometime before it really sunk in. He was right – Jesus really does wreck your life when you come to Him. He wrecks your old life and sets you on a fresh path with new purposes, passions, and principles. All good! I like how C.S. Lewis puts it, “If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions…then I think we must suspect that his ‘conversion’ was largely imaginary.” True – and this journey is a process!

The famous Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff made an interesting observation upon first arriving in the U.S. Apparently; he wasn’t prepared for the incredible variety of instant products in our grocery stores. He reflected, “On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk – you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice – you just add water and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to myself, What a country!”

Funny stuff, but it’s true – we are a nation of “instant” – not necessarily limited to our food industry. Think about all the debt people get themselves into desiring instant homeownership, instant brand new shiny car, or instant job status! Most good things are a process, including a mature walk with God. Many people believe that spiritual change happens immediately upon salvation. It’s true that your eternal destiny abruptly changes direction, but spiritual maturity is a journey.

Someone once compared our spiritual walk to the landing of an army on a beach, conquering the enemy as the troops make their way inland. At salvation, God establishes a beachhead – total occupancy comes over time – the “wrecking” gradually taking place. As Philippians 1:6 explains, “We can be confident of this…that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it …” Martin Luther King Jr. put it this way: “I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I could be; I may not be the man I can be; but praise God I’m not the man I once was.” That’s called growth!

Back in the late 1800s, there was a pastor who had a troubled and hostile son. The father wrote to the president of a Bible college requesting his son be enrolled in the school. He felt if his son Bill, could just be under Biblical teaching and influence, he would turn his life around. The reply from the Bible college? “We are an institute where future missionaries and pastors are being trained, not a reform school.”

Not to be deterred, the father wrote again and again, begging that his son be let into the school. The college president finally relented, but required that Bill adheres to certain conditions: faithfully attend classes, obey the guidelines, and check in daily with the college president.

The rebellious young man arrived and indeed, it was challenging for all, but gradually his life-course began to change, and one day a miraculous thing happened. Bill burst into the president’s office excited beyond belief. He got it! His life had been wrecked! He had come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and couldn’t wait to share the news with the college president. He went on to become a standout student, later graduating and even becoming a member of the faculty of that Bible college – Moody Bible Institute.

But the story continues…one day William (Bill) Newell wrote a poem describing his remarkable journey from a restless and troubled youth, to one finding truth and redemption. Upon completion, he shared it with the music professor who composed a tune to fit the poem – thus one of our beloved hymns was born – “At Calvary.” The song is well over 100 years old, written in 1895, but the words are eternal.

Here is just a taste of that now-famous song, “Years I spend in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died, at Calvary. Mercy there was great and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.”

His last verse anchors the song and is without question, profound: “Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan! Oh, the grace that brought it down to man. Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span, At Calvary!” The journey continues…

Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you can visit them at DPCityChurch.org

Susan Beckett • Dwelling Place City Church

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