Each year at this time, we put up home made Christmas tree ornaments that I made with my boys when they were little. Like a little balsa wood loaf of bread, symbolizing Jesus calling Himself The Bread of Life. A small lighthouse, commemorating His teaching, I am the Light of the world. And others, now precious to my memory.
As I now look at them, I am reminded of the unequal partnership with which they were made. My sons worked hard, according to their ability, appropriate for their age, and I completed the job, fixing some unintentional mistakes and adding to the beauty of the finished product.
God does this to our well-intended but immature efforts to obey Him, to become holy, as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16) As He commands us to be holy, He asks us to cleanse ourselves for His holy purposes:
If anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:21-22
But this is a task that I perform ineptly. I need His strong, skilled hands to make my efforts successful. As the bride of Christ, perhaps this is how we work with Him toward the goals He has for us.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 19:8
Although she dresses for her marriage to the Lamb in clothes composed of the righteous acts she has lived out in her life, these clothes were given to her by Another.
I realize I can never please God in my own strength, never correct my own faults by self-improvement. So I rest in Him, and He works His will through me. He does perfectly what I have never been able to successfully do all my life. He empowers me for holy living, but it is still I who have to execute it, as I rest in Him.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Galatians 3:3
O God, I want to be all that You have intended me to be. Take my feeble efforts, perfect them, and make them acceptable in Your sight.