Here at our house, my wife and I are wrapping up a home renovation/addition project, finally adding the finishing touches on a months-long adventure.
My father-in-law took our ideas and worked his magic to implement them, making our house look better and bigger, just the way we envisioned. A pretty big shift took place here, and lots of things changed in order to complete the project.
Walls came down in some places and new walls went up in other places. Windows came out and were replaced. Paint was upgraded and doors were added. The kitchen was gutted and then refilled with everything my wife had wished for.
It was a tough process, and I’m sure my father-in-law would tell you that it challenged and stumped him at certain times.
To personify the house for a moment, I am willing to bet that it felt some pain – things being ripped out and cut down and stripped away. Shaking and bouncing and noise – things that caused utter chaos and confusion.
But the end result was something beautiful. The painful process produced a product that was renovated, rebuilt, and renewed. All the hard work ended with a home that more closely resembled the vision that we had for it.
And this is what is going on with our lives as believers.
Much like a challenging home renovation project, God takes His people through a process of renewal and rebuilding, from the day they give their lives to Him until the day He calls them home.
He begins with a vision – a desire to see His people restored and redeemed and remade into His image. Remember Genesis 1:26? God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” His vision for mankind was a people who were like Him, who had a close relationships with Him, who lived in communion with Him, and who represented His character on earth.
God has a vision that His people will return to their original design – to be truly human, set apart from the evil and sin of the world, like Him in goodness and love and holiness.
He starts with this vision, and then He takes us through a process of making this a reality.
And at times this process is challenging. At times it involves tearing things down, ripping things out, removing ugliness, replacing old things with new things.
It involves God showing us the things in our hearts and in our lives that serve as obstacles to us being more like Him – sin, pride, selfishness, anger, lust, unforgiveness, self-righteousness. He takes us through the process of revealing these things to us and then actively works on removing them, in order for us to be more like Him.
And sometimes that’s painful, isn’t it? Because we have to come face-to-face with our own reality. And we have to walk away from certain things or situations or people. And we have to let go of certain desires or ambitions that keep us away from God. And sometimes we have to be torn down, all in order to be rebuilt the way that Go wants us to be.
But the process – as painful or challenging as it may be – always produces the fruit of righteousness. And all the hard work of sanctification (that’s the fancy theoogical term for this growth process) eventually leads to a person – a child of God – that more closely resembles the vision that He always had for us.
The process is hard sometimes. But the growth that God wants to produce in us is the gift at the end of the road.
Will we trust God through the process and allow Him to do a work in us to make us more like Himself? If we do, we will be rebuilt, renewed, and reformed in all the ways that make us the people of God that He envisions.