27. Remodel or Die

man remodeling old wall

Remodeling demands lots of work

Remodeling takes work. Pull up flooring. Pry off molding. Remove cabinets. Cut through wall sheetrock. Curl hands around the exposed edge and pull hard. Large chunks fall with a satisfying crash, and lots of dusty pieces. The walls’ bones lie bare and exposed. Remove the wires and stub off plumbing. The quick, fun, brute-force method uses the inelegant but effective sledgehammer. Swing hard. Knock the studs free; remove the nails later. Run wires for new lights and fill gaps in the ceiling. Then tape, texture, and repaint. Install new flooring and cabinets. Clean up the mess, and, behold, an open, fresher, much nicer room. Your sweaty effort earned a place of rest and beauty for friends and family.

The Christian walk seems much the same way. New life possibilities open in bright contrast to the putrid cesspool we leave behind. Then, the realization of the behavior He expects sinks in. Love your neighbor. Turn the other cheek. Give to him who asks. Live faithfully. Treat others kindly. He even says that a wise man keeps himself under control.

Not easy, but we can do self-control. Throw out all the old stuff. Take out a wall. Add a window. New cabinets look nice, and the lights really brighten up the place. Looks good, even classy. Except that the lights flicker a lot. No problem. Invite guests only in daylight. And the cabinet sags at one end. No problem. Tap a shim under the foot. But that sinks down into rotten flooring instead. Hide it with a plant?

Remodeling old walls. Man with piece of torn wallpaper in decayed room.

Remodeling old nature never works

Repairing repaired repairs never ends, and we eventually admit that the most carefully applied whitewash flakes when painted over slime. In fact, remodeling our old nature never succeeds.

The goal is not to renew, rejuvenate, or restore. Instead, He says, “Count yourselves dead and allow Me to live within you.” He replaces rotten wood with a living tree fed by life’s clear river, producing wondrous fruit that shines no matter how dark the night.

So, despite your best efforts, what strangely marvelous orb grows at the end of your new branches?

Matthew 7:15-20; Romans 6:5-11; Matthew 23:27-28; Galatians 2:20;
John 15:1-8; Revelation 22:1-6

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