I love watching home renovation shows. There’s something about taking that old, uninhabitable fixer upper and transforming it into the re-imagined livable space that intrigues me.
Maybe it’s because the house has a story that’s worthy of redeeming. Maybe it’s in observing the process of going from worn-out to revitalized that keeps me coming back. Maybe it’s because to every other passer-by that old dilapidated house has no worth, but in the eyes of a designer it is a valuable treasure. Maybe it’s because I feel like that old fixer upper at times. Empty. Broken down. In need of some care, restoration, and renewing.
Have you ever felt that way? Or maybe you do right now. Like somehow time has partnered with the things of this world or the ways of your old self to subtly wreck you?
Well, my fellow fixer uppers, there is good news – even if every other passer-by does not see our worth, there is the Designer that reckons us to be a valuable treasure, no matter our background or station in life, and He stands ready with His good blueprint to refine us from our depleted state to being immaculately renewed.
But let’s not fool ourselves. Although the renovations on the television seem to come off with few hitches, the process of refinement that leads to a spiritual renewal is not an easy one. Thankfully, Paul gives us a guideline in Colossians 3:9-10:
“…since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (NIV)
Release – take off your old self.
Reform – put on the new self.
Renew – in knowledge in the image of your Creator.
Release. Reform. Renew.
Every rehab show generally has a segment where they highlight the demolition of all things that are not reusable or are not part of the plan for the re-envisioned space. Essentially, the contractors strip away the old to make room for the new. But in the process of the stripping away, they will often discover a nest of termites that have wreaked havoc on the structure or the remnants of asbestos which would prove dangerous to one’s health if not eradicated from the home.
Likewise, our old, sinful natures would continue to prove destructive if left unchecked or unexposed. I like how the New Living Translation records that latter part of verse 9 – “…for you have stripped off your old sinful nature…”
You have stripped off the old to make room for the new. The imagery Paul uses to expose the sinful nature here speaks volumes and leads me to this question – is there a part of the sinful nature that you and I are struggling to strip off, to release? For without releasing what seems unforgivable, without releasing the stronghold of addiction, without releasing the worry, the fear, the doubt, without the repenting and the stripping away of the old self, you cannot move to the next step in the process of being renewed. I’m preaching to myself here – Let. It. Go!
After the old has been stripped off, the reformation begins, and I love that Paul doesn’t leave us hanging as to what the new self should look like. Similar to how each segment of the TV rehab gives you a snippet of how the final restoration will look, Paul details in Colossians 3:12-17 a verse by verse reconstruction of the heart that the Designer is revealing in His chosen masterpieces. And when He is finished with the reforming, being clothed in the new looks like this: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, peace, wisdom, thanksgiving, and above all, love.
Sound familiar? I mean, I can’t help but notice that when the Designer transforms the heart within that we become meek bearers of the fruit of the Spirit without. I can’t help but notice that when the Designer does the reforming, that the richness of the message of Christ begins to fill our lives to overflowing. I can’t help but notice that when God our Creator does His handiwork inside of us, the psalms and praises begin to rise. We have been made new. Now let the renewal begin.
Paul tells us to put on the new self and “…be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him” (NLT). So how do we do this continual process of learning to know, or as the Greek states, recognize, our Creator? I have two suggestions. The first, derived by Romans 12:2, is the most obvious: by renewing our minds daily in God’s Word. It’s here He reveals His attributes and tells of His promises. The second is this: spend time in His creation. Psalm 19:1-2 tells us:
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.”
You see, unlike the big reveal at the end of every rehab show, God’s big reveal of who He is in His creation never ends. Day after day, night after night they reveal knowledge. And by that knowledge we are continuously being renewed, learning to recognize our Creator and become more like Him.
Release. Reform. Renew.
What knowledge is God revealing about Himself to you through His creation? Has it stirred a renewal in you, causing you to become more like Him?