I SPENT THE WEEKEND reformatting my computer. I had a massive “User” file on my small C-drive and it was giving me a red bar every time I opened up Internet Explorer to take a look at how my computer was doing.
My son told me I needed to move the User file to another drive with more space. I was having problems with one of the other drives as well, so we felt it best to reformat the computer.
If you’re unfamiliar with what it means to reformat a computer, it’s a little bit like performing a lobotomy. Or in biblical terms, it would be washing everything away in a Massive Flood. You save the good stuff on a backup drive you could call Noah’s Ark.
It’s a do-over.
I have been writing books for a long time. I have a lot of stuff on my computer. You know those maps you have seen inside my books? Some of those individual maps run over 1 GB. I have lots of maps.
Those of you who know computers would find it no surprise at all that I spent the entire weekend on this reformatting project, with the help of my tech-savvy son. I could not have done this without him.
I expected to be feeling frustrated at this point in the week, so soon after the reformat.
But what I’m feeling is a burden lifted.
The computer is running more smoothly than ever. And I have everything finally organized in a manner that makes some sense. The computer was thoroughly disorganized previously because I made the mistake of using some not-ready-for-prime-time software to transfer my data and programming from my previous computer to the current one.
That process got everything into my new computer, in much the same way you could get a jigsaw puzzle into your top desk drawer by having a three-year-old kid dump it there.
Now, however, everything is in its place as far as I can tell.
It’s a good feeling.
The weekend has me wondering about how God can reformat our life when it feels like everything is messed up, misplaced, and running like an old Chevy on Uncle Willard’s white lightning.
I’m not sure I have an answer to the question.
I grew up in a Christian home. I attended church all my life. I don’t think I ever wandered off like a Prodigal Son.
Certainly, I’ve had my programming adjusted. I think differently about people, the Bible, and God than I did when I was a young adult. New information and new experiences change us that way.
But I’m having trouble thinking of a time when I was spiritually reformatted.
I don’t even think that my conversion moment qualifies. I was a young kid at the time, frightened into the Kingdom of God by a fiery evangelist who preached a sermon about hell. He sounded like he’d been there.
But I think God reformats some people, changing them radically from one kind of human being to another. He said he would.
“I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 11:19
I have seen that happen in Hallmark movies. Not so much in life.
Instead, in life I have seen grumpy young Christians grow into grumpier old Christians.
And I have seen jerks converted into what seem to be little more than converted jerks.
I don’t have an answer for you. Today, I have a question.
Does God reformat the personality and temperament of a person?
Or does he save them where they stand?
I have not seen that many true conversions. At least, not the storybook, radical kind. But, on those rare occasions when it does happen, it truly is remarkable. We are all prisoners of our hearts and emotions. It is hard to realize this until a change for the better happens.
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, Tom. I believe you’re right about that. Sometimes medication can do what religion can’t.
Now you say I ask tough questions Lol! Actually this is a pretty good question and one that has many elements. To say it simply, according to Scripture, the nature is “reformatted” (better term regeneration), but the corruption remains — I call this the “Flesh” or “humaness”. In a sense, your question has two true points! Some have said that “Salvation is like an old man in a new suit of clothes” – which is actually wrong, it is more like “a new man in an old suit of clothes!” The soul is regenerated, but the body (humaness) is still unredeemed. So we gained everything, we just have to loose this body — which comes with the Resurrection! The Apostle Paul talks a lot about this — I know I have a lot of tech talk, but that’s how I think, I have only been “reformatted”, still haven’t got my new hard drive yet!
Stephen M. Miller
Wayne, you’ve been reading those theology books again haven’t you? Probably on that Kindle you won from me. You’re welcome.
I think that God uses moments in our lives, not necessarily to reformat us as much to give us a disk cleanup. I myself have had instances in my life that I truly believe God placed me in to change me for the better. I am the same person, I have the same flaws, but I am better. I’m not an entirely cleaned, rebooted version of myself, but I run more smoothly. Thankfully we have a God who loves us wherever we are, so my response to the question you asked is neither. God loves us where we are, but by us loving Him we are changed for the better!
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks Melissa. You paraphrased my favorite definition of grace: God accepts us where we are, but he doesn’t leave us there.
I tend to believe that God has always been at work reformatting us. Isn’t salvation really the point at which we realize he is doing it, and we say “Come, Lord Jesus?”