Tuesday, February 27, 2007
On New Floors and Becoming Christlike
My house in in shambles right now. I admit, I'm not the best home organizer and keeper, but, for once, that is not the reason. No, this time, it's a case of "things usually get a lot worse before they get better" and "the darkest hour is always before dawn." (I hope I used those common idioms correctly!) You see, close to a year ago Erik and I were the pleased purchasers of a nice pile of new laminate flooring to replace the carpet in our dining room, living room, and the linoleum in our kitchen. And finally, we are taking the necessary steps to put it in. Erik has torn out the old stuff, leaving nasty looking black adhesive and sharp staples underfoot. There are boxes of books all over the living room, unloaded from our bookcases which have to be moved. There are various extra pieces of furniture in the family room which add to the chaotic, messy, unfinished state of our home. I can live with all this though, because on Monday of next week a couple of Erik's friends are coming over and I'm leaving with the kids. When I return, if all goes as planned, I shall have nice new bamboo-like floors and the memory of gray-blue carpet under the table will quickly fade away. I'm very excited.
As I've walked through my home these past few days, carefully avoiding staples and making my way past boxes and out-of-place furniture, I've thought about the spiritual life, and mine in particular. I have a glimpse of what I am called to become- like Christ. And I know the journey to Christlikeness is a long road, an entire lifetime of struggling against my flesh, of falling down and getting back up, of putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up. But how often I wish that there was Extreme Makeover- Spiritual Life Edition or a Plastic Surgery for the Soul Center where I could undergo an anesthesia, and wake up a few hours later transformed! But, like anything that is truly of value, it's not that simple. And, like getting my new floor means a whole lot of mess, it seems that when I purpose to live a more godly life I become even more aware of the mess I've made of mine. I pray for patience, and I find myself snapping at my children. I seek abiding joy and notice how often my heart grumbles as I serve my precious family. I long to bridle my tongue and find myself speaking unkindly, tearing down with my words instead of building up. Like the staples in my floor, I have all sorts of jagged edges, and I pray that I will not be a stumbling block to anyone, and especially not to my children.
And when I do begin to walk more faithfully in an area, how easily pride creeps in, how quickly I can judge others for an action that only yesterday I myself engaged in! (And will likely slip back into next week... or tomorrow.) So what hope is there for me? What hope do I have for my children who are looking to me for guidance, whose views on God and the world are being shaped primarily by Erik and me? My hope comes from "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" and "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". It comes from getting my eyes off of myself, repenting (again) of my sin, and pressing on "that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me."
My house will soon be back in order, or at least back to it's normal state of semi-order. It will take a few days, (or weeks, knowing us) to get things rearranged, but we will very soon be enjoying our new floor. I, on the other hand, am a much bigger project. No quick fixes here, but a very loving and patient Father who is willing to forgive and strengthen and transform me little by little. And I hang my hopes, all of them, on Jesus, on His work in me, and on this promise: "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." Let us run well, friends, that one day we may hear those precious words, "Well, done, good and faithful servant."