Did you grow up playing with a Magna Doodle? My kids have one and I love the thing. It’s a massive step up from the Etch-a-Sketch that I played with as a kid. Back then, we had to rely on two massive white knobs to create drawings with. It was really hard to draw circles – they always ended up looking like deformed, pixellated diamonds. Then, to clear the display of your deformed, pixellated diamond-circle thingy, you had to shake and shake and shake it until your shoulders and head hurt … then a little more and start over to make another pixellated creation.
But with a Magna Doodle, you can draw anything you want. Then, with the simple push and pull of a slider (sound effect: ‘swish-swish’), you can clear the display of your work and start over. The simplicity and effectiveness of the ‘swish-swish’ is beautiful.
I wish that life was like a Magna Doodle. When things go wrong inside of your soul or with other people, you could just move the slider (‘swish-swish’) and start over. A lot of times, that’s how we view our faith. We come to Jesus for salvation and ‘swish-swish’ everything’s better. All our issues and difficulties are gone. It’s Magna Doodle salvation!! (Halle-lu-jah!)
But life isn’t like that. When we come to Jesus, our issues don’t go away magically with a ‘swish-swish’. When we come to Jesus, we begin a new journey towards wholeness in Christ. We are at the beginning of something new … not the end.
So many times, we don’t let God really deal with the issues in our life because we’re clinging to Magna Doodle salvation. As we resist God’s desire to really reshape us, we simply transfer our old issues into our new life with God. The old people pleasing that had led us into the party scene now leads us into activism in the nearest Christian group. The old bitterness from abusive relationships in our past leads us into co-dependent and broken relationships with our new Christian small group. There is no ‘swish-swish’ that can magically take them away.
Instead of Magna Doodle salvation, we need to return to the biblical understanding of our lives as clay in the hands of the potter. Jeremiah talks about this when he says “like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel” (Jer 18:6). It’s what the Apostle Paul is referencing when he says “we have this treasure [God’s glory] in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor 4:7).
When we come to Jesus, God takes us in His hands and begins the process of forming and reshaping us. We are bent and malformed. He wants to renovate our lives. He wants to replace our selfishness with selflessness. He wants to teach us to love from the heart instead of being cynical and angry.
As we move forward in life day by day – with all of our good and bad issues – may we release ourselves into the hands of the Creator so that He might reshape us for good in His time and in His way.