One recent morning, my wife and I were put on “PaPa and Mimi” duty while my daughter ran some errands. Our granddaughter, Charlie, would not go down for her morning nap, so I got her out of her crib and, like any responsible grandfather, handed her to Mimi.
The first thing my wife did was check Charlie’s diaper. It needed changing. Actually, that’s an understatement. It needed to be removed by a hazmat team and shot into deep space. It was that bad.
But Charlie was cool during her diaper-renovation. She smiled and cooed and lied relatively still for a 13-month old. Our oldest son, who was on the other side of the room, slipped his shirt over his mouth and nose.
It took a while, but Charlie was finally cleaned up. She was a much happier baby after that.
We grown-ups need frequent cleaning, too. Over time, we develop smelly attitudes and crappy behaviors. We bemoan the sin-stench of others while we continue to lie, lust, complain, gossip, throw temper tantrums when we don’t get our way, or think we are superior to those who don’t hold our opinions.
We can resist change or, like my granddaughter, we can submit to it – real change, a clean-up job that Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
This is the kind of deep, permanent change that we cannot do ourselves. New Year’s Resolutions and goals rooted in wobbly willpower don’t last very long. But “God-change” will. It doesn’t happen overnight. It can be painful. Sometimes we fall back to our childish ways and think we will never be clean, but God gives unlimited grace to those who will receive.
So be like Charlie. Lie still. Our job is to submit to God, and His job is to do the clean-up job that only He can do.