The Best Is Yet To Come

Unlike the theory of evolution which no one has lived long enough to witness, one doesn’t have to live too long before she sees metamorphosis firsthand. Metamorphosis is a zoological term applied to the marked changes in form during the lifecycle of an animal. In the first phase, an embryo forms inside an egg. When the egg hatches, the animal is called a larva. During the next period, the larva changes into a pupa. At the end of the pupal stage, the adult emerges. Animals that grow in this way include many fishes, mollusks, butterfly, frogs and insects.[1] The stages are not the same in all animals that undergo this process, but there is a similarity in all occurrences of metamorphosis; it is that, for the change to occur in order for the animal to move to the next stage, some parts of the body have to go, while new ones emerge or grow. And until they become full adults, reproduction cannot take place, a larva cannot reproduce, and neither can a tadpole. So, no matter how attractive an animal looks at any stage of its metamorphic process, one needs to be reminded that its best form is yet to come.

The United Nations came up with the millennium development goals (MDGs). A checklist for the third world to be achieved by the year 2015. National Leaders came together to develop this list with a view to creating a better world for the populace in the under-developed world. The call is not to be like America or any of the developed nations, rather, they came up with an agreement on the things which if adopted, with each nation employing methods peculiar to her, the world would be a better place for those living in these countries. I live in one of the third world countries; quite frankly, I don’t need an economic expert or a health expert, neither do I need a human right activist nor a public affairs analyst to tell me that I don’t live under the best possible conditions. Even though for the most part, I am pessimistic about its coming, I know that for Nigeria and Nigerians, the best is yet to come.

In many spheres, it is believed that the best is yet to come, while for some, the best has come and gone. An example that readily comes to mind is the socioeconomic situation in my country, while it is good to hope that it could be better in the future, with the stories of yesteryears which I’ve heard and seen, it appears that the best has come and gone. It was said by God to King Solomon that “Wisdom and knowledge is] granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been] before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.” (2 Chron. 1:12). In terms of wisdom and knowledge, riches, wealth and honour, no king in Israel would match Solomon after His reign. In that regard, the best had come and gone.

“The best is yet to come” is a statement of hope. It has a message of hope embedded in it. It is heard in the campaign slogans of politicians and also from the cheering fans at a football match, it is the mantra of motivational speakers and writers, and yea, it is the message of a good teacher to even the best student in his class. Even though this message is found in the lowliest of places, such as where the butterfly lays its eggs, it is also found in the pages of the Word of God—the Bible.

Biblical Christianity teaches the truth that mankind was created in the image of God and placed in a world which God vetted and afterwards declared that it was very good. But man fell from this highly desirable estate, thus began the degeneration of mankind and all of God’s creation on earth. (see Gen. 1-3). Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Rom. 5:12). All that would come to this world through Adam would inherit a degenerate and sinful nature, and without divine intervention would inherit death as well. We will all be under the bondage of our sinful nature and its accompanying evils, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:4-6). Our merciful God would not leave us to die without a chance to choose life, thus He sent His son to save us from our sins by dying on our behalf. And when the Son would return, He did not leave us without a helper. He sent forth His Spirit into our hearts.

And what is the function of this Spirit? To help us metamorphose into the image of the Son. We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even] as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor. 3:18). As we behold the character of the Son, the Spirit enables us to be changed into His image from character to character. This is the essence of Christ’s death on Calvary. The same Spirit which moved upon the face of the waters and breathed the breath of life into man’s nostril at creation is the same Spirit which recreates the image of God in fallen humanity.

Christ’s work in a man’s life does not end at forgiveness of sins. He desires to see a new man, transformed, not at once but metamorphosed step by step, from glory to glory into the image of Christ. The Apostle Peter writes “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet. 1:3, 4). God will exhaust all the resources of heaven in order to make sure that we partake of the divine nature. As you receive Christ Jesus and walk in Him, allowing the Spirit to work in you, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. 1:5-8). The Apostle Peter hints that God desires that we bear these virtues, adding one to the other, as we continue our fellowship with Christ and our character continues to develop. A checklist similar to Paul’s in His letter to the Galatians (Gal. 5:22, 23), but Apostle Peter writes in a way to tell the readers that this doesn’t happen overnight, it is the result of continued hopeful fellowship.

God has created you uniquely and He desires to bring the best you out of you. He can only do this as you allow Him to work with you as you change from glory to glory into the image of His Son—our perfect example. You’d be doing God a disservice by trying to be like someone else. One may have many role models and admire the thoughts of many men, but should do so only to the extent that such actions or thought conform to that of Christ. Says the Apostle Paul, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. ” (1 Cor. 11:1). The larva can only tell the egg, “be ye a follower of me as I am of the adult”, if the larva does not desire to become an adult in the end, it is not a worthy role model, because the larva is not the best form to be attained. So it is with everyone who has accepted Christ as His Lord and Saviour. No one, not even the one who led you to Christ or your Pastor or spiritual leader is your benchmark in spiritual growth. Christ is. And we keep beholding until we attain. Says the Apostle Paul “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” (Phil. 3:12-15).

The Apostle says he keeps pressing on; he keeps running and does not look back. In this race of character transformation you don’t glory in your attainments, they might give you a sense of arrival while the best is yet to come. Neither should you wallow in your failures, they might discourage you. If you fall down get up and keep walking by the same rule and mind the same things that would help you in the race, because the best is yet to come. Get up and get back on track or else to whom shall you go? Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing because the best is yet to come.

The proclamation by the Apostle Paul that we should walk by the same rule and mind the same thing suggests that we have a part to play in building our character for eternity. Ellen White writes:

“Few realize the power of habit. Inspiration asks, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” and adds, “then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23. This is a solemn assertion. . . . But there is comfort and courage in the reflection that if evil habits acquire such force that it seems almost impossible to turn in the right direction, the power of good habits is equally strong. The results of each day’s work, whether the tendency be to elevate us in the scale of moral worth or to push us downward toward perdition, are influenced by the days that have preceded it. Defeat today prepares the way for still greater defeat tomorrow; victory today ensures an easier victory tomorrow. Then how careful we should be to see that the habits and characters we are forming are correct and virtuous. . . .

Let us remember that character is not the result of accident, but day by day it is forming for good or for evil. Great importance attaches to this work of character building; for it is far reaching in its results. We are builders for time and for eternity.”[2]

No one becomes a devil overnight; neither does anyone become a saint suddenly. “Thoughts work out actions. Repeated actions form habits, and habits form character”.[3] This means that the best is yet to come and so is the worst. As good thoughts ultimately produce a good man, so will bad thoughts ultimately produce a bad man or woman. In the work of character building, there is no stagnancy, the available options are progression and retrogression. That is why the Apostle Paul goes on to write to the Philipians “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:8). Keep the mind on Jesus Christ by following this heavenly principle of forming a good habit by making right choices everyday—in thought, word or deed—until we attain eternal victory. The best “you” is yet to come.

One more thing which should be done is to Search the Scriptures. White writes:

“ No man, woman, or youth can attain to Christian perfection and neglect the study of the word of God. By carefully and closely searching His word we shall obey the injunction of Christ, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” This search enables the student to observe closely the divine Model, for they testify of Christ. The Pattern must be inspected often and closely in order to imitate it. As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself defects of character; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees he cannot be a follower without a very great change in his life. Still he studies, with a desire to be like his great Exemplar; he catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master; by beholding he becomes changed. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”[4] 

God expects us to build characters in accordance with the pattern set before us. We are to lay brick by brick, adding grace to grace, finding our weak points and correcting them in accordance with the directions given. When a crack is seen in the walls of a mansion, we know that something about the building is wrong. In our character building, cracks are often seen. Unless these defects are remedied, the house will fall when the tempest of trial beats upon it.[5] Even though it may be quite a struggle, like the Apostle, you keep pressing on, because the best of you is yet to come.

And you need to be diligent in prayer too. Praying that God should give you the desire to search the scripture and afterwards, lead you to a proper understanding and that the Spirit should help you to make the right choices at all times. “The change we need is a change of heart, and can only be obtained by seeking God individually for His blessing, by pleading with Him for His power, by fervently praying that His grace may come upon us, and that our characters may be transformed. This is the change we need today, and for the attainment of this experience we should exercise persevering energy and manifest heartfelt earnestness. We should ask with true sincerity, “What shall I do to be saved?” We should know just what steps we are taking heavenward.”[6]

We need to keep walking by the same rule—studying God’s word, praying fervently and determining to make the right choices—and also minding the same things.

In transforming our character and building for eternity, we must partner with Christ in seeking to save the lost. For Paul to go from a murderer to one who would say at the end of His life that “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7), he had to get involved in the mission of Jesus Christ—seeking to save the lost. The graces of the Spirit were developed in him as he partnered with Christ. Because one cannot do this effectively without having love and compassion for everyone, it develops the graces of the Spirit in anyone who links this great assignment with anything she gets involved in. Says the Apostle Paul “Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:10). Let’s imagine that Paul and his crew pretended to be Christ-like before these believers; if they truly desired to be what they pretended to be and earnestly pray and ask that the fruit of the Spirit would mature in them, like someone once famously prayed, “may God make me what I pretend to be”; they would keep moving from perfection to perfection. Henry Drummond once wrote “If a man does not exercise his arm, he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his souls, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fibre, no beauty of spiritual growth.”[7] In essence, if you desire to exercise your soul, practice virtue, practice temperance, practice patience, practice brotherly kindness and practice love; with a consistent cooperation of the human will and the divine will, the best of “you” will surely come.

If I believed in evolution, which teaches that I came to be through the vicious process of the survival of the fittest, I would be hoping to evolve into a more sophisticated being which I know nothing about and no one has ever seen. But because I believe in the truth that God created mankind in His image and breathed his Spirit into man so that he became a living soul, I have confidence in the fact that He can recreate a new me in the image of His Son whom “we have seen and heard” and “declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3). God said, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Eze. 36:26, 27). He who breathed His Spirit into man in the beginning promises to do it again. If I allow that Spirit which was at work at creation to work in me even now, the best of me is yet to come.

Many in thoughts and/or deeds seem to communicate a Gideon-like belief that the best of God had come and gone, in terms of character transformation and building. They think that God could in the past change someone from a thief to a soul winner, but not anymore! The sinner today must die in his sin. But God insists that “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20). But God is ready to ready to work in you, even today, as He did in those of old; if you would say, like the Apostle Paul, that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13). God is still the same one who lingers “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9). Because he knows that if anyone allows His Spirit to work in them; the best of them is yet to come.

Keep walking by the same rule and keep minding the same things: keep making the right choices, keep searching the scriptures, keep praying and keep seeking the lost. Keep pressing on, even in the midst of trials and afflictions. “The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace.”

At all cost, keep walking by the same rule and keep minding the same things: keep making the right choices, keep searching the scriptures, keep praying and keep seeking the lost. The best is yet to come.

[1] Metamorphosis.” Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.

[2] Ellen G. White, Our High Calling, pg 244

[3] Ellen G. White, The Upward Look, pg 89

[4] Ellen G. White, Counsels on Sabbath School Work, pg 17.

[5] Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, pg 165

[6] Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, bk. 1, pg 187

[7] Henry Drummond, in the sermon “The Greatest Thing in the World”


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