We are remodeling our house.
Let me re-phrase that, we’re attempting to remodel our house! What started as replacing the roof on our house has grown into adding gutters, storm doors, stripping wallpaper, painting every room of the house, moving furniture, patching cracks in the ceilings, ripping up carpeting, refinishing floors, and basically turning our entire house upside down and inside out. While I’m excited about the end result, the process is causing anxiety on my part. Our home is over 100 years old and nothing is ever easy in an old home. Every repair is harder and more costly than originally planned. The plaster walls look hideous without the wallpaper, nothing is “square” in the house, I’m horrible at choosing coordinating colors, and our once fairly organized home looks as if monkeys are in charge! The girls’ absolute favorite TV show (and the only one we let them watch, in fact) is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They love to hear the stories of the families and see the houses demolished and rebuilt. They have been calling our efforts the “Home Makeover Show.” Their only concern was that we might be tearing down the house…that, and could we go to Disney World, too, please?
I was feeling frustrated today at the little scraps of wallpaper that keep floating through the air, sticking to everything. And, the jumbled piles of “stuff” that keep moving from one horizontal surface to another. And, the ugly cracks on the walls and the smell of wallpaper adhesive and old carpeting. And, my aching arms and back. And, the endless list of things yet to do before we can actually paint or lay down flooring. My head was swirling with the details of a project much larger than anticipated. Overwhelmed was an understatement.
Then, I got this picture…you know, one of those “I want to show you something, dear Jen, so let me use what you are experiencing to show you a glimpse of Me” kind of pictures. I saw my life like my house….let me explain.
When we purchased our home, we knew the previous owners fairly well. They were a pastor family, our pastor family, in fact. This was the first home I was invited to when I first moved here. The family was lovely and this house very much reflected their personalities. After we bought the house, we left everything “as is.” We added our own “garage sale” and “early attic” furniture and hung our own pictures on the walls and called it home. That worked just fine for a bit. Then, we began to add some little people to our lives and our home no longer reflected who we are. Our lives have changed a great deal in the seven years since we moved into our house. It doesn’t match how we live or who God has called us to be. It’s no longer comfortable. So, we’re making necessary repairs and changes. Our home is being transformed into a place that reflects the Henzes and the blessings God has given to us.
My life, lately, is a lot like my house. God loved me just exactly as I was when I fell at his feet 17 years ago. But, I’m a different person now. God has done wonderful, marvelous things in my life to transform me into a person who (hopefully) is beginning to reflect Jesus. The thing is, though, I have to let God come in and tear things off my walls, patch up the cracks, replace things that are worn out. I have to let Him have His way with this temple. If I don’t, it isn’t the home He intended it to be.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and that you are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
Lately, the Lord has been showing me that I’ve been resisting the work He must do in my heart to make me, His temple, worthy of housing the Holy Spirit. I don’t like that about myself, but praise God that He has lovingly pointed out this area of weakness and sin. Yep, sin is a big word here, but that’s exactly what it is to resist God’s work in your heart. If I am not actively allowing God to build me up, I am, by default, actively participating in tearing down the temple of the Holy Spirit.
“If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:17
It’s a big thought…being the holy temple of God. In the Old Testament, we see how important the temple of Israel was to God. Several chapters and books give detailed accounting of how the temple was to be built, what materials were to be used, where certain elements were to be placed in relationship to each other, and who could and could not be in service to the temple. But, these were all a foreshadowing of the holy temple God would create in each of us.
“…for the temple is not for man, but for the Lord God.” 1 Chronicles 29:1
God always intended the temple of our hearts to be His dwelling place alone. He will not make His home there if He cannot reign alone, unchallenged.
So, here I am, just like my house; jumbled, things out of place, ugly walls exposed, dirty floors being ripped up, false paper facades coming down. It’s not what I would call a temple “fit for a King.” But, the funny thing is, I can already sense that the Lord has greater latitude. Even being the mess that I am, being willing and pliable in my Master’s hands is so freeing and pleasing to the Lord. I really do want Jesus to rule and reign in my heart…it’s the process that is painful.
But, come Lord Jesus, and make my heart clean! Cleanse me and make me righteous. Have Your way…Your will be done. I trust You and believe that You work all things for my ultimate and everlasting good. I give You my heart anew. Make your dwelling place in me and make me into all that You desire me to be. In Your precious name, Amen.