~ Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV [biblegateway.com]
A few weeks ago, our pastor used this passage as his benediction. I love this sort of passage - the blessings of Scripture, the "May God" passages.
In this particular one, the word "work" caught my attention. "... May he work in us what is pleasing to him."
Change and improvement isn't granted like a genie granting a wish or a fairy waving a wand. The things God wants to see in me come from work. They take time. Just when I think I have grasped something He wants to teach me, I realize it has come around again - maybe in a slightly different form, but there it is again. Often, it takes months just for me to cultivate an awareness that I'm even doing whatever it is that God is showing me. I guess if I was conscious of it in the first place, I wouldn't do it. Instead, it is such a part of my behavior or my character, it takes repeated effort to even recognize it is there, much less try to do something about it.
It takes work.
Within the work, I take comfort in the fact that God cares enough about me and about my character to even bother with me and my flaws and defects. Apparently He thinks it's worth the time and effort to bring about His purposes, even in a sinner like me.