We have all been through those prolonged times when day after day there is no rain and the ground looks like a desert. We know there is rain up there in the clouds, even the small ones (1 Kings 18:44), but still the dry times continue. That’s a lot like the struggle we have with our new man replacing our old man.
What is going to change?
We are all born with our “natural goodness,” a natural virtue which we put our confidence in, but it is just a glimpse of what God created us to be. And when we are born again we still want to cling to that goodness, which God has no intention of building up. His desire is to get us in touch with His goodness, the virtues of Jesus. From the moment we receive His Spirit He begins to break down our confidence in our natural goodness, a confidence we really want to hang on to. The question is whether or not we allow Him to dry up our old nature and replace it with His.
There is nothing in the natural, be it love, patience or purity, that can ever come up to God’s demands for His children. No matter how hard we try to develop, embellish or improve our natural virtues, they can never become those that God has placed in us. The only way the little rain cloud can develop and bring forth the goodness of God (our new man) is for us to get in touch with Him and allow Him to do it His way.
Put another way, this is the process of being conformed into His image, yielding to the work of His Spirit in developing our new man, our spiritual man. And as that process continues (spiritual maturity) our little cloud (our new man) grows and becomes more visible to those around us. Just like that little cloud eventually grows big enough to bring rain.
It took Isaiah’s servant seven trips to the top of Mount Carmel before he saw the little cloud that eventually developed into a downpour…
1 Kings 18:43-45 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.
Our life is like that little cloud, growing larger as we submit to the process of sanctification, the process of remaking the old man in us into the new man that God has placed in us. Every day we grow a little bit more like Jesus and those around us begin to see the change and are encouraged by what they see. Every day there is a little more of Him than there was the day before… if we are committed and obedient to allow God to do it His way, a way that is not always the one we want to follow…
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We may just be little clouds today, but God is not going to keep us there. He has already seen what we will become in Him and one day we will be able to agree with the old hymn, Our Blessed Redeemer, Ere He Breathed …
“And every virtue we possess,
And every victory won,
And every thought of holiness,
Are His alone.”