A Minor Remodel or a Major Renovation?
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
When Linda and I first moved into our home in Irvine, California, we found ourselves wishing that a few things about the house were different. So, we hired a contractor who moved a couple of short walls and built a couple of interior doors. Adding new paint and carpet, we easily enhanced the usefulness and value of our house with a modest remodel that took about a month to complete.
At about this time, friends of ours purchased a home in another part of Southern California. They also remodeled, but not modestly. In fact, their contractor tore down every part of the house, except for the foundation and one wall. Their project lasted well over a year. What they ended up with was, for all intents and purposes, a brand new home. No minor remodel here, but a major renovation. The result was truly marvelous.
Sometimes, we can think of the Christian as a minor remodel. When we put our faith in Christ, we add a few new beliefs and behaviors. But, for the most part, we think and live much as we did before receiving God's grace through Christ.
This minor remodel approach to Christianity falls far short of the biblical vision. Today, we begin to reflect upon a passage in Ephesians that explores in depth what it means to think and live as a Christian. Ephesians 4:17-5:33 lays out a vision, not of a minor remodel, but of a major renovation. As followers of Jesus, we don't simply believe and act a little differently than we did before we believed. Rather, we tear down most of our lifestyle house so that we, in partnership with God and his people, might build something altogether new. We put off the old self so that we might put on the new.
As we begin our prayerful study of this passage, I invite you to open your mind to what God wants us to learn. Some of it will be welcome, if not inspiring. Some of it, I expect, will be challenging, even disconcerting. I suppose if a house had feelings, it wouldn't rejoice during the first parts of a major renovation. But the final result, both for the house and for us, will be truly marvelous.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: As you think about your Christian life, which metaphor seems more appropriate: minor remodel or major renovation? What parts of your life have been made new because of God's grace at work in you? What parts of your life need renovation?
PRAYER: Gracious God, as we begin this passage, may our minds and hearts be open to you. May our lives be available to you. We all have aspects of our lives that have already been transformed by your grace. But we all have part of the old "house" left, that which needs to be taken down so the new can be built. Give us courage, Lord, to receive your Word openly. Teach us. Challenge us. Admonish us. Encourage us. Transform us. Renovate us.
To you be all the glory! Amen.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All week on The High Calling, we’re focusing on God and Technology. Do you wonder how to stay focused on God in the age of screens? Join us each day this week for articles and reflections on serving God in a world of technology. Do you know someone who loves technology? Invite them to consider a Christian perspective on technology by sharing one of this week’s articles via email or social media.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.