I met a guy last year who gave me quite a workout with a word picture.
He put a copper pipe in front of me. Then he asked me, “What is this?”
I said, “It’s a copper pipe.”
And he said, “Yes, it’s a copper pipe, but what is it?”
I said, “Okay. You have a faucet on the end of it and you have a red handle. I’m going to say that it’s a hot water pipe.”
“That’s right,” he said. “It’s a hot water pipe. “ “Okay,” I said.
But then he asked me, “Does it ever change?”
I tried to figure out what could possibly be the “right” answer. “Does it ever change from a copper pipe?” I asked him.
And he said, “Yes, that’s what I’m asking. Will it ever become something other than a copper pipe?”
And I said, “No.” And he said, “Right.” And I said, “Okay.”
But then he asked me, “If it does change, when does it change?” And I said, “You just finished telling me that it will never change!”
“Right,” he said. “It will never change from being a copper pipe. But it changes. Think about it. What kind of pipe is it?”
“It’s a hot water pipe!”
“Right,” he said. “So when I turn the hot water on, then what does it become?”
“Well, it becomes a hot hot water pipe.”
And he said, “Right. So, did it change?”
And I said, “Yes. It went from being a copper pipe to being a hot copper pipe.”
“Right,” he said.
Then he said, “This copper pipe is you. You will never change. You will always lust, you will always be greedy, you will always covet, you will always think badly of others, you will always gossip, you will always betray, you will always be mean, you will always have evil thoughts.” He just went on, naming all the sins.
And then he said, “If God allowed you to change, you would not lean on Him. If He allowed you to become perfect like Jesus was, then you would essentially be Jesus. If that happened, there would be no reason for Him.”
In other words, I’m not going to change in my flesh. I said, “Okay.”
But then he asked me, “When did God change you?”
The pipe gets hot, right? So I tried to think of a similar way that I might change. I said, “Well, the Bible says I’m a new creature in Christ Jesus. I’ve been born again, so obviously I’ve changed.” And he said, “Yes. But the key is that it’s in Christ that you have changed.”
“Right,” I said.
And then he told me, “This is the meaning of the copper pipe: Christ is your hot water. Until you turn the hot water on, you are a copper pipe. When you turn the hot water on, you change. You become who you’re supposed to be, in righteousness. Your righteousness is in Christ.”
This is one of the best word pictures I’ve ever been given. It might be the best. We went on to talk about this some more. Now I understand that we’re all copper pipes, and only Jesus can change us. When you understand this, then you can learn to judge not. I’ll tell you more about this next time. See you Monday.