Boulders, Rocks, and Pebbles
The way the Holy Spirit strives to change us can be illustrated by a family that buys property in the mountains, sight unseen, with the intention of building a cabin.
The family goes to the land in the spring, ready to start building. They discover that the land is covered with boulders, so they spend the spring and early summer removing all the boulders.
They step back to admire their work and realize how many rocks are strewn across the property, so they spend the rest of the summer removing all the rocks, expecting to come back the next spring and start to build.
When they return in the spring with their building supplies, they see that, over the winter, the ground has frozen and thawed, and pushed pebbles to the surface. Having done so much work already, they sigh, grab buckets, and pick up all the pebbles.
When we come to Jesus for his mercy and forgiveness, we are often aware of serious wrongdoing in our lives, like boulders, and we cry out for his help to be rid of them (Ephesians 4:17-24).
Then we relax, thinking all is well, until we notice rock-sized sins, misbehaviors that we didn’t realize were wrong. But now they bother us, and we want to change. Again, with the help of the Spirit, we amend our ways (Galatians 5:16-25).
For awhile, we think we’re pretty good . . . until attitudes crop up that are not at all like Jesus, and we realize we have to “work out our salvation” in still deeper ways (Philippians 2:12-13).
That is how the Spirit works to transform us. The boulders, the rocks, and the pebbles—all must go in an authentic, ongoing, thoroughgoing turnaround, measured by the full stature of Christ.