My wife and I have owned a number of homes over the years. Most were older than I was, and it seems like something falling into disrepair happens at the most inopportune times.
I have come to understand many spiritual lessons through experiences of owning and living in a house.
Coming to faith in Jesus in a conversion experience is like transferring the deed of a property for God’s ownership. Our physical, mental, and emotional being is no longer our own, but we have been bought with the price of the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20).
At conversion, the Holy Spirit awakens our dead personal spirit, and comes to live inside our bodies (Romans 8:9-11). Then the fun begins. The process of transformation and sanctification are illustrated well by property ownership. A number of places in the Bible speak of our body as a tent, temple, dwelling, or house. Anyone who has lived in a particular house for a length of time knows that houses can take a lot of work to maintain. Although houses are viewed as an asset on a financial balance sheet, tax collectors have come up with a method of depreciating their value over time because repairs and improvements are so expensive. The older the house, the more surprises that may be found when trying to fix something. Chipped paint may lead to broken plaster which may lead to finding a plumbing leak and so on. For this illustration, when we “sell out” to God, he buys us “as is.” Now the repairs are in his control, and in his terms of timing, methods, tools used, materials used, floor plans, space utilization, landscaping, outside buildings, etc. .
In the Bible, the ancient Israelites are spoken of as a “house,” where God dwells among his people. In addition to a community meaning of “house,” since the coming of Jesus to the earth, the Bible also refers to an individual’s heart as being a “house” for the Holy Spirit to dwell within.
As individuals and as a community, the verses below indicate God’s people sometimes have a hard time maintaining their devotion to God. God is faithful to grant them peace in their hearts when they remain faithful. Christ Jesus’ temptation and suffering now provides full access to Father God and a way for our “house” to be made alive in him. See the second chapter of the book of Hebrews for an introduction to the following quote.
“Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.
That is why I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:1-12; NASB).
A heart turned towards God, finds peace. A heart turned away from God has no rest. A believing heart turns toward God. An unbelieving heart turns away. Belief in God empowers peace. Unbelief destroys any opportunity for us to experience peace in our body, mind, and soul. At conversion, believing in Jesus begins a process whereby more and more measures of faith and trust (belief) is placed in Father God for our identity, provision, and protection. We are still prone to complaining and blaming like the people of God described above, but now we have Jesus as “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (see John 14).
This process of change requires altering our beliefs. Our beliefs must be brought into alignment with God’s “beliefs.” This is done through surrendering possession of our house to God. God now owns our heart, and we must cooperate with the re-construction he wants to do. God may want to tear down a wall to make more space in a room. We build walls of self-protection in our hearts that often damage our relationships. God may want to strip old paint off the door frames of another room to expose the original wood. We often make surface excuses to hide our imperfect perceptions, and we mask who God originally intended us to be. God may just want to clean the junk out of some dark closets. We hide things in places that become dark holes of disappointment and depression. Just about any task of house renovation and maintenance can be likened to alterations in the human heart.
The more re-making a house goes through, the more useful and beautiful the living space becomes. The more change in the right direction the more peace and rest that follows. Room by room, piece by piece our heart is changed into a place of beauty and productivity. A house foundation that is shored up and strengthened, will bear the weight of upward expansion, and also be better prepared for storms ahead (see the story Jesus told in Matthew 7:24-27). Storms of life are inevitable and may take the form of relationship or business breakups, unemployment, pandemics, health problems, or some kind of injustice, A heart transformed into greater wholeness, has greater capacity, resilience, and forbearance for these kinds of troubles.
Some may find this difficult to believe, but one of the best ways to discover where our heart needs transformational healing and re-construction, is to allow ourselves to feel the pain of our inner hurts. Just like a house may look a bit messy from demolition work before re-construction can continue, cleaning up the messes in our lives is somewhat necessary before beauty is restored. I can speak from my own experience that every corner cleaned up is one more step to sweeter rest of soul. More on the role of pain in the recovery process may be found in the article called Pain Evangelism as Discipleship at:
Applying answers to some questions like these may help facilitate house re-construction. Where might there be some unbelief in my life? What specific lie(s) might I be believing? What is the truth that will turn me towards God? What might I be holding onto (or hiding) in my house hoping that God’s re-construction won’t come to this closet/ cabinet/ room? What am I thankful for that God already began (or completed) to make my house a better place to live? Am I giving God praise for the good works he is doing?
Be blessed with re-construction.
by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry