Just down the road, I’ve enjoyed watching such a restoration in real life after a buyer snapped up a rotting, moss-covered New Englander and began restoring it. First came months of dismantling as decrepit wood and a hazardous addition were stripped off. Next came the rebuilding, including a new roof, windows and siding. Today one would never recognize this charming house as the unstable eyesore it once was.
One reason I love home renovations is that they provide a concrete, physical example in the natural world of what is possible in the spiritual. We too were designed as a dwelling place, not for a stream of revolving owners, but for the spirit of the living God. Just as time, storms and physical neglect wear down a building, so the storms we endure and our own spiritual neglect can wreak havoc over time on our spirit – or who God created us to be.
Thankfully, God is in the renovation business.
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you…” God promised through the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel (36:26-27 NLT). “And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”
This promise was fulfilled in the New Testament through the life of Christ, who happened to be a carpenter. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person,” the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17. “The old life is gone; a new life has begun.”
Scripture also says that Christ came to “seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). In other words, he is looking for broken-down, worn-out, overlooked, undervalued people to pour his love into. Why? Because as the original builder, God knows that the structure underneath is still valuable even if the exterior doesn’t reflect it. His goal? To redeem and restore your life.
First, God wants to take ownership. No one invests in a building with which they lack a personal connection. Next, comes the dismantling. Once we are his, God strips off the outer parts of our nature and life that devalue who he created us to be. Then he clothes us with his grace and righteousness until we are transformed to reflect his beauty.
If this were reality TV, we’d be shiny new, inside and out, in less than an hour. In real-time, transformation is often a process that occurs over a lifetime. But the good news is that we have a master builder with a pre-paid budget whose care we can rely on. No subway tiles required.
Meadow Rue Merrill, the author of Redeeming Ruth: Everything Life Takes, Love Restores, writes for children and adults from a little house in the big woods of midcoast Maine.