Instead of submerging my worries, I want to let them bubble to the surface, where I can get a good look at them. I realize that this is the very stuff the Spirit who lives in me wants to deal with. This will be my sanctification:
"Do not quench the Spirit. … Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely …" (1 Thessalonians 5:19, 23).
Instead of wishing away the people in my life who bring the worst out of me-either my insecurities or my annoyance-let me see them as the change agents God wants to use to bring my issues to the surface, where He can burn off the dross.
I thought I had nearly "arrived" spiritually till Sally moved in next door. She pressed all my buttons. It wasn't her; it was me. (She didn't have that affect on other people.) It was that peculiar combustible mixture of personalities that made it very clear that this fixer-upper still needs work.
The Lord says, "Be perfect." This is what He means. I am not to resist His grace for polishing the rough edges, nor His promptings to confess and to turn from things that are displeasing to Him. I am not to settle for "managing" relationships when the commandment is to love "earnestly" (1 Peter 4:8). I do not want to hobble into heaven trailing hay and stubble behind me (1 Corinthians 3:12-16) when I can be substantially purified before I get there:
"Since we have these promises beloved, let us cleans ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1).
I note with interest that the Lord says, "His Bride has made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7). Surely it was by grace that "it was granted to her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure" (verse 8). But it was she who availed herself of that grace.
Lord, show me my blemishes so that I may yield myself to your purification.