My family and I have just commenced our first ‘home renovation’ project since moving into our home in Mount Airy last fall. We’re not undertaking anything too dramatic; quite frankly, we don’t have the resources for that. But we do want to update some fixtures, change some colors, and add some touches that make the house our own.
Thankfully, we know that the ‘finished product’ of these renovations is going to look great – mostly because the work is being done by a talented crew – supervised by our church’s own Bill Norman of Bill Norman Construction. (Now Bill…about that ‘free advertising discount.’ ) But let’s face it: going through a renovation isn’t a lot of fun. You have to move a bunch of your stuff out of the way. Comfortable routines get disrupted. And almost inevitably, the work churns up dust and debris that has to be dealt with somehow. But in spite of those headaches, we’re renovating anyway – because we believe that the end result is worth it.
It occurs to me that something very similar can be said about the “heart and life renovation” that Jesus wants to perform within each of us as individuals – and among all of us as a church. We know that the finished product will look great. After all, God’s Word promises that when the project is completed, “we will be like Him, for we will see him as He is” (1 John 3:2). But along the way, a bunch of our stuff is going to have to be moved out of the way. More than likely, some of our comfortable routines will get disrupted. And Lord only knows what kind of ‘dust and debris’ will get churned up! If we’re going to become more like Christ, there will be fears and sins and hurts that will have to be dealt with somehow. But in spite of all that, wouldn’t we want to renovate anyway? Don’t we believe that the end result is worth it?
Here are a couple of questions that I would really like you to make a matter of prayer. First: What renovations does Jesus want to do in you? Is there some old sin that he wants to tear out? Is there some spiritual practice (like prayer or Bible reading or giving) that he wants to ‘freshen up’? Is there a new addition that he wants to add – like a new act of compassion or a new form of ministry? Second (and similarly): What renovations does Jesus want to do in us as a church family? What no longer works and needs to be updated? What’s cherished-but-worn-from-use and needs to be restored? What new opportunities, needs and gifts are inviting us to step out in faith and embrace something different?
In many ways, the Christian life would be so much easier if we could hire someone like Bill Norman Construction to handle our ‘heart and life’ renovations just like they’d handle our home projects. But our Lord and Savior requires us to be more personally and more passionately invested than that. The transformation that the Spirit is producing within us calls us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” – to roll up our sleeves, pick up our tools, and dive in. But thankfully, this is no “do-it-yourself” affair. We have beside us a Master Builder, who knows every hidden part of us and who understands how to maximize our potential. And it is His promise that he will see this project through. After all, the scriptures remind us: “God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6, NLT).
Will we embrace the fearsome joy of renovation?