Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Diamond in the Rough

Diamonds are the hardest natural substance found on the earth. They can only be scratched by other diamonds and hold a polish indefinitely. For this reason they are valued highly as gem stones as well as for their industrial use. Their ability to reflect light has always made them highly desirable for use in jewelry and in religious icons. Since early human history, diamonds have been used in engraving tools because of their hardness. And of course, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

Diamonds are formed under intense pressure and heat for a long period of time, usually about 100 miles below the earth’s surface. They begin as a carbon-bearing material and undergo a chemical change while under this heat and pressure. This means the atoms which formed the original substance are all still present in a diamond. They have moved around to form new chemical bonds within molecules. This chemical change is permanent. Many diamonds have imperfections in them, which are pieces of carbon which remain unaltered from their original state.

Scripture tells us that at the moment of our salvation, a tremendous change takes place in us as well. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) We have been permanently altered from our old state. We used to walk according to the flesh, but now we walk according to the Spirit, because He dwells within us. We went from slaves to sin to adopted sons of the Living God (Romans 8).

But God is not finished with us. The point at which we became a new creation was only the beginning. Paul told the Philippians, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Like a skilled diamond cutter, God is continually chipping off the rough edges of His “diamonds in the rough,” cutting facets in His precious stones to allow His glory to be reflected in ever-increasing volume.

Sometimes those cuts are painful to us. We don’t like the process. But we eventually can look back to the circumstances which contributed to our sanctification and marvel at how God worked to change us. “He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:10-11).

And the beauty of what He is creating far surpasses even the most brilliant of diamonds, because we begin to reflect the brilliance of His glory.

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