Dr. James Pleitz, the former pastor of the Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas, TX, was once visiting Gatlinburg, TN. There he saw many craftsmen making and selling their wares. One particular artisan caught his eye—an old man who, without patterns or models and armed with only a sharp penknife, carved images of various breeds of dogs.
Dr. Pleitz watched the old man for some time and was puzzled as to how the man created these figurines from scratch without anything to guide him except his memory. After an hour or so passed, Dr. Pleitz finally asked, “Sir, how can you create these statues of dogs without any pattern or model to guide your knife?” “Well, sir,” the old man said, “I just cut away what don’t look like dog.”
As Dr. Pleitz walked away, those words percolated in his heart and soul and have since become the dominant prayer of his life, “Dear Lord, cut away from my character and life what doesn’t look like Christ.”
Likewise the Scripture commands us,
“So put all evil things out of your life: sexual sinning, doing evil, letting evil thoughts control you, wanting things that are evil, and greed. This is really serving a false god. These things make God angry. In your past, evil life you also did these things.
“But now also put these things out of your life: anger, bad temper, doing or saying things to hurt others, and using evil words when you talk. Do not lie to each other. You have left your old sinful life and the things you did before. You have begun to live a new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you.” (Colossians 3:5–10, New Century Version)
Dear Father in heaven, even though it’s sometimes painful, please do Your work of sanctification in my heart and life. Cut away what doesn’t look like Jesus and replace it with the fruit of Your Holy Spirit. From trial to trial and from glory to glory, conform me, I pray, into the image of Your Son. Amen.