My house is a mess right now. I’m in the process of laying new carpet in one of my bedrooms – something that I’ve never done before. The old carpet got stained, so it was time to replace it.
I have a vision of what good carpet should look like and what I had was no longer measuring up (or even close). In fact, it was worn, dirty, and stained. So, I set out to several stores to get a new vision of what my room could look like. I wanted something that would look good, be easy to clean, go well with the rest of the room, and be reasonably priced.
After I figured out what I wanted and got the carpet to the house, the next fun part started: demolition. I had to get the old carpet and pad out of the room. I had to tear up the old tack strip and all of the staples that used to hold down the old pad. There were lots of details for me to take care of.
And only after all of the demolition and a little cleaning could I start laying down the new carpet. In order for my room to be transformed, I have to take it from where it was to a place of further disorder in order to clean it out so that I can make it the way that I want to.
I think it’s the same way with our spiritual lives. God often allows chaos into our lives to help “clean us out” so that we can be remade into the image of Christ. When there are areas where we don’t measure up with God’s Word, he certainly has a vision for our lives. And His vision can be our inspiration to partner in change. Consider:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Our first step in lining up with the Word in this is to realize where we do or don’t line up with the word. For example, I don’t do a great job of taking care of those with no status (orphans and widows) and I certainly don’t do an amazing job of keeping myself only for God. Yet the passage itself also has a vision for how we can be – looking after widows and orphans in their distress and being unpolluted by the world. It is not only a “measuring rod”; it’s also an inspiration for action.
God’s will for me is to line up with his Word. When I realize that there’s an area of my life that doesn’t line up, and there are at least a couple in my life, I have the opportunity to be part of what he’s doing. I can partner with him by renewing my mind – changing my thinking. I can learn how things should be. And then I can begin asking for the grace and power of the Holy Spirit to help me as I try to be part of what God’s doing in my life.
A revelation of God can lead to a desire to change. A desire to change can lead to a desire to learn. Learning can change our thinking. And changed thinking, through the power of the Holy Spirit can lead to a changed life.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
I must be changed by the renewing (changing, making new) of my mind. You’re saying “Yeah, but where’s the demolition?” And you’re right to ask that. Here’s how it works in my life. Before I can learn something contrary to what I’ve already known, I must first unlearn what I formerly “knew”. Before I can begin to behave in a new way, I must develop new habits, which means I must lay aside (or tear down) old habits.
I have to lay aside my selfishness and look after others. I must value others as God values them. In my life I must learn to devalue the things that do not line up God’s good and perfect will and at the same time, I must begin to properly value God’s will.
Think of the opportunity! We can partner with God as he (it’s really God doing the work) renews our hearts, minds, and lives! And when we are changed, we show the glory of God in, with, and through our lives.
2 Corinthians 3:18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Glory be to God in whom is life, through whom is salvation, and to whom all glory, honor, and power are due! May we bring honor to his name through our lives.