A friend of mine recently bought an older home that she is remodeling and planning to move in to soon. Even if you purchase an older home at a good price, it may still take a lot of time and resources to bring it up to the standard that the local code requires and the function with amenities that most of us have gotten used to in this 21st-century. She has been surprised at all the little hidden costs, as well as the many opportunities to upgrade (and spend more money) while she is remodeling.
I see lots of spiritual parallels and lessons we can probably learn from observing some things in the process of remodeling and restoring a home — “first the natural, then the spiritual.” Of course the purchase price for the home that our heavenly Father purchased for us was the costly price of His own son’s sacrifice upon the cross. He paid what none of us were able or qualified to pay and He has abundant resources to make sure that everything will be made new. In reality He has purchased a brand new mansion for each of us not a remodeled house but there is still work going on to make it exactly as He planned!
I have been helping her put new hinges on existing kitchen cabinets that were repainted. A fresh coat of paint can change the looks of a room but unless the proper prep work is done, a closer look at walls or kitchen cabinets reveal flaws that could have been fixed but which actually accentuate the poor condition of the walls and/or cabinets. I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit not only wants to do a thorough job of remodeling/restoring our lives that He does not cut any corners and only expects the work to be done completely and thoroughly. He is not in a hurry to make sure every detail is taken care of, so that the Father will be well pleased with the “finished product” — our lives looking like and reflecting Jesus.
Some areas of the house had to be totally redone. The process of tearing out existing walls and rebuilding new ones is very messy and time consuming but the end result will be a home that functions better. Sometimes the Lord has to seemingly completely dismantle an area of our life that could never function properly in His Kingdom. Improper foundations and wrong teaching have to be removed and replaced if our lives are going to bring honor to His name and allow us to walk in the victory that the Bible says is our inheritance.
I am constantly reading and researching and listening to other teachers and ministers who know a lot more than I do or who come from a totally different spiritual upbringing. I liken this to specialized contractors who have chosen one particular trade to focus upon. Truthfully electricians usually make lousy plumbers (and vice versa) or anything else besides the trade they were trained in. When you hire someone to do a particular job that falls within the parameters of their job description, you expect them to be able to do the job right and with excellence.
My friend has been somewhat disappointed with several of these sub-contractors because their skill level or possibly even the willingness to do it right has been lacking. Because I have worked in construction much of my adult life, I have a general knowledge of a lot of things but I would never “hire” myself out as an electrician, plumber or finish carpenter. Yes, I can put up light fixtures and ceiling fans and I have had to do some minor carpentry, but I am not skilled in those areas and would never represent myself as someone I am not. I can probably paint as good as most contractors but I now limit that activity to my own properties.
I always take what I hear from another teacher/minister and compare it with the truth, the Word of God which is the ultimate plumb line. Because I am very familiar with the overall content of the Bible, if someone tries to teach/share something that may be their “pet doctrine” but it does not line up with the overall understanding I have of the Word, I can reject it or at least “put it on the shelf” for now if it is something I may want to reconsider later (and I have done that more than once when I did not feel like I had enough understanding to make proper judgment/discernment).
I certainly do not take everything anyone, including my pastor who I love, respect and believe in, states as truth without putting it under the ultimate lens of truth, the Word of God. I have “changed my mind” with further enlightenment on more than one “doctrine.” They are usually the things that divide people but in the light of eternity probably do not have much weight to them. End times theology is one of those areas that I refuse to be dogmatic about anymore. So many opinions have divided my brothers and sisters who love Jesus with all of their hearts. I know He is coming back — when and how is no longer the most important thing to me. I live every day with my heart in a place of expectation of His return, but I am occupying my space and sphere of influence until that day as though I will live out my full life expectancy. I don’t want my life to be a poor reflection of the God I am trying to represent, so I allow the Holy Spirit, the greatest general contractor of all, to examine my heart with scrutiny — the same way a general contractor has the right to say to a sub — “that is sub-standard work and needs to be redone or fixed.”
My friend has been disappointed in several subs but the overall remodeling job is going to be something she will be very proud of and enjoy. When we allow Holy Spirit to do the remodeling necessary in our lives, we will experience a joy and a peace that will surpass all of our expectations. My heart is truly Christ’s home and I want it to be a place He wants to live in.