In the fall of 1975 I helped a young girl, just nineteen years old then, from the remote hills of Clearwater, Idaho, carry her suitcases up to her College dorm room. In the week that followed I asked her out twice and she refused both times. Finally, when I offered to take her for her first trip to a big city, she agreed to go with me to Seattle. We had a great time and she eventually realized she liked me.
Then loved me, married me, had six kids with me, supported me in ministry, and made a great home with me in Blaine, Washington. Now that our children are adults we enjoy our time together more than ever.
When we first met she was mortified when she saw the disastrous state of my dorm room. Soon she was doing my laundry and helping me color-coordinate my clothes because she didn’t want to be seen in public with me wearing some of the ensembles I put together. To this day she buys all my clothes and still does all the laundry. There are advantages to being a dumb guy and not knowing how to fold towels and T-shirts the right way.
But I have changed so much because of her presence in my life. For example, I cannot stand a dirty kitchen. I am one of those cooks who washes each item as he uses it to avoid a mess. If I come home from work first and see a few dishes piled up I do them. If I see clutter in a room, which does not happen often, I pick it up. If it were not for her presence in my life I would be a slob.
And I would no doubt be living in a messy studio apartment somewhere with nothing in it aesthetically pleasing to the eye. As it is I live in a home that is the stuff of decorating magazine photo spreads. Connie loves antiques and has been blessed with a job where she not only buys and sells them, but has first pick of the lot at the estate sales she runs and frequents.
I learned how to do carpentry because of her. Together we built the additions to our house. We did all the framing wiring, plumbing, and roofing ourselves. I never knew how to do any of this before I met her, and I doubt if I would have ever learned without her.
She has never touched a drop of alcohol in her life, whereas I came from a background of drinking and drugging. I honestly believe the Lord brought her into my life as a restraining force, and there is no telling where my life might have led if not for her presence.
Sometimes when people visit our home they will ask her things like, “Oh, who built these nice corner shelves?” And I am proud to hear her say, “Pete made those for me.”
You might ask what it would be like if she were in my life and I had not changed in any way for the better, and I would tell you that what you are suggesting is impossible. There would be no way to have Connie in my life that long and not be a changed man.
So after writing that blog yesterday I was thinking about how to some the concept of making full proof of one’s calling and election through diligent cultivation of spiritual fruit smacks of legalism. But by way of analogy, if having a loving spouse cannot help but transform jerks like Yours Truly, how is it that we as believers could imagine having the perfect Creator and sustain-er of the universe in our lives–having rescued us from death and made us alive through the miracle of regeneration–and our lives showing no clear and obvious evidence of His presence?
Now it is not my job to make full proof of your calling and election; nor is this what the text cited in yesterday’s blog tells us to do. We are to make full proof of our own calling and election. Then again, just as it would be hard for anyone who ever knew me before and after Connie to not see the positive changes her presence has made in my life, it would be a rare thing to spend extended time around a true believer and not eventually some clear sign of Christ’s presence.
It is not my job to fruit inspect your life. I have no desire to do this. The Lord knows those who are His. Just think about it.