I thought I would never do it again. But, I did. Each time I’ve gone through this, I’ve been certain that I wouldn’t put myself through it another time. And yet, here I am once again, about to start another home improvement project. I so love the end result, but the process to get there requires more energy and patience than I admittedly want to take on. It’s always the same thing. It appears that it is going to be a quick project. Promises of minimal disruption are made, even guaranteed. But, the second demolition starts, my faith in the contractor’s promises starts to waver, and mostly for good reason. The renovation site usually looks like a meteor crashed into it. I try to focus on the finished product, but the dust and disruption are more than this neat freak can tolerate.
Interestingly, the renovation process reminds me of what God does in the life of a Christian. He likes to do some improvements of His own. You see, salvation is free and instant, but becoming more like Christ takes a lifetime. This pursuit consists of a series of renovation projects where God destroys the areas that don’t glorify Him and then rebuilds you in His image.
The first stage, demolition, is always the toughest. It requires breaking down walls or strongholds that need to go. During this phase, I too look like a meteor hit me. I feel beat down and weak. I don’t always understand God’s methods and sometimes can’t see the bigger picture. Recognizing that I only see part of His master plan, I try not to doubt His tactics. I must keep my eyes on the Lord and meditate on scripture.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." – Isaiah 55:8-9
Next, comes the rebuilding stage. This is where God gets to recreate that area of my life in His image. Sounds easy enough, but it requires change and letting go of some strong habits. I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the harder this is for me. Change is uncomfortable and makes me uneasy, but the final product is always worth the temporary discomfort.
By the time you get to stage three, the finishing touches, I promise you it gets a little easier. You catch a glimpse of the final product. Your faith begins to rise, your resolve starts to strengthen, and you push forward until you reach the finish line. God completes His renovation project in you and creates a beautiful masterpiece.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14