Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Capstone and the Diamond

UV 1683/10000The Capstone and the Diamond
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
I Peter 2 v 4

We are like ordinary stones with no value or beauty or utility but once we are chosen by God, we become precious stones since we are continually connected with the capstone, the cornerstone, the keystone- Jesus. We may often be rejected, suppressed, oppressed and looked down upon by fellow human beings. Jesus uses all our experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly, to shape us into precious stones through the Holy Spirit and by His grace. Our molecular structure or our basic character is changed and transformed so that we give up all malice, deceit, envy, hypocrisy and talking ill of others. We endeavour instead to build something beautiful, elegant and enduring on the one who is strong- the Rock of Ages. Jesus is both the foundation bedrock as well as the capstone or keystone, implying that He holds up the weight of the entire structure of our lives. He gives it purpose and design. We should wear our faith not just on our sleeves but just about everywhere- on our tongues as a sword, on our head as a helmet of protection, on our chest as an armour of defence, on our waist as a belt of righteousness, on our feet as the readiness to go places for the Lord.

The Lord shapes and forms us over a lifetime. He removes the rough edges and patches. While choosing a diamond, we need to look at its five Cs- cut, colour, carat, clarity and consistency. The cut stands for the suffering we have undergone in the name of Jesus. Are we able to endure under pressure? Do we wilt or are we able to stand up to persecution? The colour stands for our beliefs and the extent of our faith. The carat stands for the weight of good deeds that we do in the name of Jesus. The clarity dimension stands for the clarity of our vision of what we should do with our lives for the kingdom of God. Our thoughts, words and actions need to be consistent with our faith and the teaching of the Word. A diamond is the strongest stone. A diamond cutter is used to cut glass. We need to be internally very strong, to set our face like flintstone as Jesus did when he began his journey on earth towards the cross. He did not flinch or hesitate in accepting the cup of extreme suffering he was given to drink.

A precious stone like a diamond is crystalline in nature. The crystal character of the diamond prevents it from getting soiled by the dirt and dust of the environment around. It can lie buried in mud for ages without being affected inherently. Similarly, believers are crystalline and though in the world are not of this world. They do not get mixed up in the controversies and affairs of this world. Another aspect of the diamond is its indestructibility for as the saying goes, diamonds are forever. Believers are precious stones that last forever. We are living stones meant to live forever. We are however unlike diamonds not just for display or exhibition but we are to live holistically and practically displaying the qualities of a diamond in all that we are, all that we do, all that we speak. A diamond is cold and lifeless but we are to always have a heart of flesh and blood beating inside us, knowing at once our vulnerabilities as well as our potential for goodness and greatness in Christ and Christ alone. Only the Lord builds mansions with diamonds, sapphires and precious stones. We are used to build the kingdom of God. The Lord is looking for beauty of character rather than beauty of personality in us. He is looking for humility and love in our hearts rather than how exalted our titles and positions in life are. The challenge at the end of the day is not just to be all this but to retain a servant’s heart, an attitude of humility. We need to outdo the diamond in this for a pure diamond looks grand, regal and proud.

Prateep V Philip

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