Rusting in simple terms is when a metal is exposed to oxygen and moisture over a period of time and the composition of the metal changes and certain molecules begin to attach to one another which is called the process of oxidation. It comes from a metal being exposed for a certain amount of time. It also has evidence of the change. There are ways to prevent and protect an element from rusting by applying certain polymers or sealants to the metal. There are also ways that a metal can be restored that has been rusted.
Do you remember what Jesus said about rust: "do not store up for yourselves treasures where rust and moth destroy..."
I understand that every analogy breaks down and I don't want to stretch a dime out of a nickel but I believe there are some principles to understand and apply from our lives about this process.
1. What has been your moisture?
Sounds like a funny question but think about the process of how one of the reasons for rusting is a prolonged exposure to moisture. Let me say that not all moisture is bad. There have been some of us that have cried tears for the lost, for our family, friends, situations, and the list goes on. Somewhere along the way, however, we stopped calling on the name of God and we left our tears pooled and unattended to where evidence of rust began to occur. Friend, don't give up. Don't allow the worries of this life to choke out your intimacy with God to the place of where we leave things unattended.
2. Has your life oxidized?
Remember oxidation is where elements begin to cling to the oxygen molecules and eventually change their composition. This speaks more to our identity in Christ. If we leave our lives exposed to the elements of this world, then slowly we begin to think our composition can change. We will see ourselves as the world defines us. We will think our identity must change. We will see evidence of this change in our lives. It will begin in the primary things of life: reading God's Word, spending time in prayer, being in fellowship with other believers. Instead of seeing iron sharpening iron we start to experience weakness and not victory. All because we have exposed our lives to the things of the world. There is value in guarding our eyes, flesh, and hearts. There is a reason that Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It can't be that only certain pieces of our lives love God. It takes us completely surrendering to Him.
3. Are you repairable and sealable?
Just as there is a process of taking a piece of steel and protecting it from the elements that provide rust, there is also steps that we can take and more importantly that God took to take care of us.
First for the person that their life may seem totally unrestoreable or unrepairable, there is good news. It's only because of what Jesus did on the cross that we can be repaired and restored. Jesus wants us to come broken to Him. And in His great love for us He and He alone is able to take that which is broken and restore it completely.
Then here is the cool part, He seals us. How? Through the planting of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He knows that we are going to be exposed to the elements of this world. He also knows that we do not have to be defined by them. So He put the seal of His love on our lives that can never be removed (Romans 8). Will there be times when as believers we allow for our lives to be exposed and we allow the rust of life to occur. Yes! Especially when our lives are out of fellowship with God. But though they may rust, we are still sealed to the day of redemption and by repentance we can be completely restored to live for Him day after day.
Examine your life as I have as well. Think about if there are some areas of "rust" that you have allowed to build up. Do you feel that unrepairable or unrestoreable? Apart from Christ, your life will truly waste away. But with Jesus, by the hope that He provides at the cross and in the resurrection, you can be restored, repaired, redeemed, and forever sealed by His great love. Don't be someone that stores away the things of life where rust can destroy. Be a person that seeks the kingdom of God first and lives for Him everyday!