Its amazing how one simple step can lead to another and before you know it a simple project turns into a radical remodeling effort. Some time ago we received a generous donation of a large-screen projection television. We decided to put it in our basement. The only problem was there was a post at the bottom of the stairs that had to be removed. So for some time the post has been missing and the walls unfinished.
We finally decided to put the post back in; which led to finishing and painting the walls; which lead to a removal of everything from the basement and ripping up the old Berber carpet that had been glued to the cement floor. The installers are in the basement right now installing the new carper over new padding. There are a few more things that will need to be done and we think it will look great when it is. All this for a free TV!
Salvation too is like a remodeling project. It has to start somewhere and for each and every one of us it begins with am acceptance of the free gift of God in Jesus Christ who died for our sins. The problem is we can’t fit Him into our lives the way we are; there must be a remodeling project!
In Matthew 12 Jesus speaks of a man in who an unclean spirit had departed. When the spirit found no rest he returned home to find it empty, swept, and garnished. The Spirit then goes and finds seven other spirits even more wicked than himself and they all enter the man and live there so that the last state of the man was worse than the first (vv 43-45).
When we obey Jesus through faith, confession and baptism we “put off the old man” (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). James says that we should draw “nigh to God” so that he would “draw nigh” to us and commands, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded (James 4:8).
When we finish the remodeling process we see a similarity of the old form but everything looks different: new paint, carpet, woodwork, lighting. And sure it looks beautiful and clean but it isn’t enough to just remodel and leave it that way. The new house or room will simply not be functional without filling it with needed and useful furnishings.
So what do we need to work on filling our lives with?
- Christ-likeness: In Colossians 3 Paul says to the Christians there to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering; to bear with one another, and forgiving one another… even as Christ forgave you. “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts… and be thankful. And let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (vv 12-16). Of course Christ left us an example that we should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
- The Christian Graces: Peter wrote that we should give all diligence, add to our “faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” And promises that if we add these things to the new man we will be neither barren nor unfruitful (2 Peter 1:5-8).
- The Fruit of the Spirit: In Galatians 5:22-23 the apostle Paul tells us that the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
- The Whole Armor of God: This is how we will be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand and against the wiles of the devil. We must have our waist girded with truth, have on the breastplate of righteousness, our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; and above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;” (Ephesians 6:13-17).
When we begin this process of transforming our lives it may seem rather daunting. But it is a daily process. The final product will be amazing: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).