This Old House
by Joe Miller
Since my mother passed to her eternal home my wife and I have been working on transforming her house (also my childhood home) into a contemporary, functional ranch.
The transformation at that place involves a number of things: sacrifice (the budget isn’t unlimited, so we’ve had to forego some things in lieu of doing others); power (through electricity, power tools, hand tools, muscles and the like); time (we’ve continued working full-time and now I’m back to taking classes, so sometimes progress seems very slow); desire (we could just let things the way they are, but there is motivation to change some things for a variety of reasons such as to update the look, improve its usefulness to us and address flaws that were present); guidance (hey, we’re not home remodeling experts, as those home improvement shows always make things look so incredibly easy, so we’ve had to lean on the guidance of builders and others for their valuable input); and, cooperation (primarily between me and my wife but also with various contractors and jobs, trying to coordinate them in a way that people aren’t ‘tripping over each other’ and life isn’t too unnecessarily disrupted).
Upon re-starting graduate school recently, I’ve marveled to a great extent at how personal transformation through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit parallels re-doing a house. In my most recent class, we examined how positive and lasting change involves a variety of things:
Sacrifice (dying to self) – Romans 8:13 (NIV) – For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (KJV)
Power (specifically God’s transforming power, to defeat the enemy and enable change to occur) – 1 Cor. 1:18 (NIV) – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Time (lifelong, in terms of sanctification) – Heb. 12: 1 (end) – let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
Desire (I long and want to be more alive in Jesus and useful to Him) – Phil. 3: 10 – I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings
Guidance (being truly led by the Spirit of God) – Romans 8:14 – For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God – and:
Cooperation (walking in tandem with the Holy Spirit each day to accomplish His will) – Gal. 5:25 – Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit
After starting this home remodeling process, most areas of the house- from the attic to the basement – have had at least something done to them. In a few cases, the change has been pretty dramatic (such as how we carved a room in half) in others, the change has been far more subtle (like replacing the knobs on the kitchen cabinets.) This has led me to do some evaluating of my soul with the help of the various authors and lecturers to whom I’ve been exposed in school.The Lord clearly has a lot of housecleaning and remodeling that yet needs to be done with this old house.
Call To Action
So, from now on, before I begin any new project, I am going to identify (with the Spirit’s help) one ‘project’ in my life that needs some ‘overhauling.’ Perhaps, then, I can link these two processes together and even mentally tie them together in a way that will help me remember them better, especially if I should begin to slip into old patterns or habits. I admit that I don’t particularly like change. A lot of it in my life has been costly and even painful. But, the end result – a vine-abiding, fruit-producing life – is so worth it and should provide the motivation to keep seeking His guidance and help in this process.