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I get smaller while God gets bigger

October 27, 2011

I remember something best if I see it. I have a hard time remembering what I hear unless it’s put to music. Illustrations help me remember things too. That’s me explaining that I have the following clip art mishmashes not because of any claim toward graphic design capabilities, but because they help me remember things, and because someone I explained this to thought I should share it. (Clip art is from here and here.)

As a Christian, I should keep becoming more like Christ. The chart below (actually about treasury prices) illustrates my journey in life of becoming more holy. Now, I am not referring to how God sees me. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God already sees me as perfect (Rom. 8:21-26). This amazes me and is the topic of a future clipart post. I am also not saying I can become LIKE God or become perfect on earth. I absolutely do not think that. Instead, this chart shows my trend toward becoming more Christlike over time, fancily termed “progressive sanctification.” The vertical axis is holiness. The horizontal axis is time. Because God calls us to think and act like Christ, because he tells us to put our sin to death (Col. 3:5), and because the Holy Spirit helps us do that (Rom. 8:13), I can sin less become more holy here on earth. Overall, there’s an upward trend on this chart. But I have ups and downs. God doesn’t want me to give in to sin, but I still do. Hence it’s not a straight line up.

Disclaimer: This chart isn’t my idea. I’ve seen it quite a bit, most recently Monday evening at a Biblical counseling class. Some of these ideas are bouncing around in my head because I’m reading “Respectable Sins” by Jerry Bridges and “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.

The chart showing my journey to holiness will be in the bottom left for the next few pictures. I’m partway up to God’s holiness. Maybe this picture is on a chalkboard, and God’s absolute holiness is at the top of the chalkboard.

As I keep wanting to be like God, and keep wanting to please him because I love him, I naturally keep learning more about him. I’m learning more how incredibly huge, and perfect, and powerful–and in all great things how superlative–God is. That makes me realize that the vertical axis–the height of potential holiness–is higher than I had thought. It makes my journey of holiness seem less like I’m halfway toward Christ’s holiness, and more like I’m 1/100 of the way there. It’s like his holiness is on top of a skyscraper.

That’s still an understatement. God is so much more loving, powerful, holy, and everything else good, than I can imagine. My chart is still on the chalkboard in a building on earth. God’s holiness is so far off the chart it is like it’s on the moon, or on the edge of our galaxy, or somewhere further in space.

What might seem like a depressing realization is actually a wonderful one. Yes, my holiness is so little, but that doesn’t change the fact that God is working in my life and has brought me far from where I was. The main thing this helps me see, though, is I have a God who is bigger than all the galaxies, who is more holy than anything I can imagine. And he still knows my name and how many hairs are on my head.  This helps me think less of me and more of him (John 3:30).


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