I have owned my house since July 1994. It had been a rental, and needed a lot of work before my children and I could move in. Thrashed carpets, ripped flooring, broken sinks, and dingy walls all had to be repaired, remodeled or replaced. With the help of friends and family, I did the work myself rather than hire contractors (especially since I had just spent almost all my money for the down payment). What a wonderful feeling it was when the hard work was all done, my home was as good as new, and I (and the bank) owned it! In the last few years, though, I realized I have lived in my house so many years it again needs repairs, remodeling or replacement of things. The walls need painting again, bathroom plumbing problems went on too long, windows warped when winter condensation turned into ice, the old furnace finally gave up, and the roof was completely covered in moss. All were big projects costing time and money. This time, however, my good friends have moved away, family dynamics have changed, and due to medical conditions and injuries suffered in the past two decades, I can no longer do manual labor. As a result I have hired various contractors and consequently owe more than when I bought the house 19 years ago. But it is slowly shaping up, and I feel good about that.
Though I am hiring a contractor to paint the outside, I am doing the inside myself, with what little help I can garner from those around me. It is fun to do some things myself, even if I’m not that good at it. I like experimenting with different colors in each room, with different methods of applying the paint, i.e., sponge painting, stencils, or various shapes to stamp on the wall. It puzzles me why people wait to fix their house until they intend to sell. Then they do all this work for the next owner. Not me. It’s my house, I’m fixing it up for me to enjoy. I have gotten home improvement ideas from my children, the internet, or browsing Lowes and Home Depot. It’s difficult to find the time and money, but it is worth the effort.
As important as it is to fix up my physical home, keeping my spiritual home in order is so much more essential. Though by its nature it requires divine intervention, fixing my interior and exterior spirituality heavily depends on me having a do-it-yourself attitude. James 1:22 says ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.’ So I not only need to believe in him, but also be willing to make the changes necessary to live a godly life. Knowing how to keep my spiritual home in good condition can be difficult; God’s truth is sometimes hard to understand, maybe even harder to believe it is true for me. Attending a Bible-based church helps provide instruction and illumination. However, 1 John 4:1 warns ‘Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.’ It’s critical for me to read the Bible for myself, not just take someone else’s word for it. Cult leaders, such as the infamous Jim Jones, pervert the scriptures to gain complete control over their followers, including to the point of suicide. I do not want my life based on false truths that will take it, figuratively and literally.
Though I came to faith in Christ as a young child, through the years I have had plenty of repairing, remodeling and replacing needed within my spiritual house. Repeatedly I have had deep emotional wounds repaired through studying God’s Word, obeying the scripture, and praying for wisdom and revelation. Through the renewing of my heart and mind, the Lord remodels those invisible wounds into scars that strengthen rather than tear down my soul. What a truly wonderful feeling when he replaces the pain and fear with peace and calm, choosing to right my world despite any surrounding chaos and uncertainty. So, just as I choose paint colors for my house, my daily choices color and weave my life tapestry. I know the more choices I make based on biblical principles and deep faith, the more my tapestry will show the beauty of knowing and serving our Creator. I pray the same beauty shows in others’ lives. ‘I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation, so that you may know him better.’ Ephesians 1:17.