April 16, 2008
Press Out, Press On
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:2, The Message
There's a four-letter word that is near and dear to my heart. I don't say it out loud a lot. But I sure do think about it almost every day.
It's iron. I-R-O-N. Yes, I love the word iron. I love the thought of an iron. I love the act of ironing. And I'm proud of it.
Back in the day, my college roommates thought I was a little freaky and used to kid me about how much I ironed. And I still do iron a lot, to this very day. Even if an item of clothing is made out of the wrinkliest linen-cotton blend that's available (and will wrinkle as soon as I even look at), I will STILL want to iron it before wearing it.
I love that an iron brings order to a mess of fabric. What starts out looking like a wad of dyed cotton can turn into a beautiful, flowing dress. And I can look at the finished product and feel a sense of accomplishment, because I did my part to create something lovely.
And then there is the sense of satisfaction that comes after tackling a shirt laden with pleats and ruffles or what have you. Clothing like that could be the "Mt. Everest" of ironing. Seriously. Even with a trusty can of spray starch and some bursts of steam, you still want to give up just looking at an intimidating garment like that. How will I ever get it wrinkle free? But you press on toward the goal of pressed-out perfection.
In Philippians 3:12-14, Paul hints at the kind of perseverance it takes for Christians to make our way to perfection, when we reach heaven one day and experience eternal life with Christ.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I d Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul notes that he hasn't arrived yet. He's still in process. There are still wrinkles to be ironed and creases to be steamed. They are being pressed out as Christ works in his life (in other words, sanctification), and as Paul continues to press on toward the goal.
Do you feel the hot steam working on you, too? Is it reaching down to your innermost being and changing you? Are the wrinkles in your life being pressed out so that you will be made holy?
Yield yourself - no matter how many wrinkles and creases you've got! - in humble submission. And know that Christ will press out what is not pleasing to him, as he helps you press on to perfection!
Intersecting Faith & Life: The next time you iron (or maybe the first time, if you've never tried), think about how the Lord patiently irons out whatever is not good in our lives each and every day. And one day, he will transform "our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Phil. 3:21, NIV).