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February 5, 2014

Being Molded into Perfection

Last spring I became the proud owner of a top-of-the-line semi-automatic shotgun. I have always owned pump shotguns, and they have been extremely reliable, but being able to own a gun like this has been an awesome experience...well, almost. See, the second time I shot it was the day that I tagged out during spring turkey season, and although I harvested the bird, the spent 3.5" magnum shell hung in the action rather than ejecting as expected. I attributed the hang to shooting the bird off-hand and not having the butt seated firmly on my shoulder to allow for the inertia system to work properly. I cycled several boxes of low-powered shells through it last summer while shooting skeet, and didn't experience anymore hangs. I figured the initial hang was a freak occurrence and all was well. Deer season was the next opportunity to break out the semi-auto. Unfortunately, I experienced several 'random' hangs of spent 3.5" magnum shells during the season, but ended with a series of clean cycles and assumed, once again, that I had worked out whatever internal kinks existed. Following deer season, a full disassembly and cleaning was done in hopes of further guaranteeing no additional kinks in the system. I used it again this past weekend while crow hunting, and everything worked smoothly. Later that morning, though, while patterning another magnum turkey load through it, I experienced yet another hang. My overall thought is that a firearm of this value and which features precision components like it does ought to operate error-free out of the box and be a perfect piece of machinery. Needless to say, I am frustrated with continually thinking that the gun is finally working properly, only to once again experience an error during operation.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Romans 7:15 (NASB)
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

In reflecting on the quality and precision build of this firearm, while contrasting the imperfections which I have experienced when using it, I am reminded of how similar this analogy is to the  redeemed life given to those who surrender their sinful lives to Christ. I get this premium-grade piece of equipment and expect and assume it is going to work perfectly out of the box, and certainly it is not going to give me the same issues that other lesser quality firearms may produce. But yet I've had problems with it. And when I questioned the manufacturer about these hanging shells, they told me that I would need to continue to cycle shells through it to completely break it in, while a local outdoor sports store advised me that even though the firearm was designed for 3.5" magnum shells, that they might not cycle properly through it. Similarly, while we think that when we are given this new life in Christ, that all our 'hang-ups' and tendencies to sin disappear, this is obviously not the case either. Because just when we feel like we have 'this thought' or 'that action' under control, it rears its ugly head at the most unexpected and inopportune moments. But be assured of this - the reason we continue to sin is because we still have a sin nature; this is our default setting. This will be changed when we’re taken up to heaven, but until then, while the Holy Spirit helps to greatly reduce our willful acts of sin, we cannot eliminate sin altogether. In the meantime God, who knows all the sins of our life and has already forgiven them, chooses to see us as we will be after He has perfected us, not as we are now. He can do this because Jesus died once, for all people, for all time.

Are you frustrated by your continued struggle with past sins even though you have confessed you are a sinner in need of a Savior, and submitted your life to the Lordship of Christ? Keep pressing on, confessing your sinfulness to God and allowing Him to continually mold you into His perfect, flawless likeness. And I hope one day I can say the same about this semi-auto... - GE

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