Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Remodeling Project

Crash! The last piece of pale pink and gray ceramic tile was pried off the wall, dumped into a rubbish container and hauled away. Fifty-year-old flooring was scraped away, revealing yet another tile floor even older and outdated than the one I had grown to despise. The baby blue walls and pink framing was the last thing to go. The old had to be stripped away, leaving a fresh clean slate for the carpenter to work his magic.

Do bathrooms have feelings? I don’t know, but I couldn’t help thinking I knew what that old bathroom must be going through. After all, I underwent the same process only a few years before. The joy I felt for the now barren walls was dampened, knowing just how far the room had to sink before it got to this place. The room had become a burden, an eyesore, practically unusable. The very same condition that Jesus found me in the day His remodeling project began.

Sin is like that. It roots itself so deeply in your life that it begins to feel natural. It almost hurts to remove it. That’s how I imagined the poor bathroom felt, stripped down to bare studs and rafters in the span of a single afternoon.

I freely allowed sin into my life, and I wasn’t a willing candidate for its removal. Just like that pale pink and gray tile, I knew my sin was hideous, but I had grown accustomed to it over the years. After all, it was just ugly tile. It wasn’t hurting anyone. That’s where I was wrong.

Deep beneath the aging tile, a leak had formed and mold began to grow. What was once the bathroom’s strong wooden foundation had become a spongy, moldy mess. The damage couldn’t be seen from the outside; nevertheless, it was there. The carpenter would have to dig deeper.

Living with sin in our lives can have the same effect as that mold. Even though it may not be noticeable from the outside, left unchecked, sin will rot and destroy whomever it touches. Our Christian foundation will become as weak as that water-damaged wood. No matter how small or harmless our sins may seem, the results can be devastating.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me!

I cried out the words David wrote in Psalm 51:10 as my petition to the Lord. Just like the hand of the carpenter on that unsightly pink and gray wall, immediately my heart was stripped clean of all its guilty stains.

Do I miss the old bathroom? I must admit, some fond memories were created within those walls. After all, my babies took their first real bath in that old cast iron tub, but no, the time for change was long overdue. The ugly pink and gray tile flooding the walls and counter top has been replaced with beautiful cultured marble. The rotted wood and broken peeling floor tile is gone, and strong travetine tile stands in its place.

Do I miss what was stripped from my life? Not at all. Where there was sadness, I have unspeakable joy. Where there was insecurity, I have peace beyond measure. Where there was no caring for my neighbor, I have love in abundance.

How about you? Is there hidden damage beneath your exterior? Pick up the Book. Dial in to I John 1:9. The Master Carpenter will answer the call, and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I have found that “home improvement” can be tricky work. It’s not always best to “do it yourself.” Without professional help, I would have found myself in way over my head. The same thing can be said about self improvement. Had I not contacted the One who knows my “divine design,” the results would have been disastrous. Thank You, God that I can say, “as for me and “this old house,” we will serve the Lord.”