Renovations. of the Heart.

My son and his wife recently bought their first home. It’s an older house that has some wonderful character and charm, but it also very clearly needed some renovations before they could move in. For many years it was a rental house, not seeing much more than basic maintenance for quite sometime.

My husband, our resident carpenter, was working with my son to fix up some of the obvious problems with the house. He decided to begin the renovation project in the bathroom, which he suspected would be worse than what we could see. He was right. As he and my son tore out the old fixtures they discovered layer upon layer of patchwork – plywood on top of plywood covering up rotten walls and floor boards. All buried beneath paint, fake tile and flooring. Layer upon layer concealing water damage and rotten wood. Lots of it.

Upon finding the extent of the damage, they were overwhelmed, frustrated and discouraged. After licking their wounds, they set about to begin the process of restoration by removing the rotten boards, and replacing them with strong, clean new boards and posts. It was a longer, harder process than what covering up would have been, but they knew it was the best thing to do and that it would be worth it in the end.

As I watched this transformation, from a rotten, black, stinky bathroom to a new and properly constructed space, fresh, bright and usable, I thought about how we humans are not unlike the life of that bathroom. Strange analogy I agree, but go with me for a moment?

We started out well in the garden (Genesis Ch.1-2). Everything was perfect, like fresh, new construction, and deemed ‘very good’ by the heavenly Architect and Master Craftsman (Gen. 1:31). Then sin entered the scene and everything changed (Gen. 3). Just like a water leak that stains and mars everything it touches, which can never be completely cleaned up to it’s original purity, humans were now and forever marred by sin, separated from their Creator.

The first thing we did was pretend nothing happened (Gen. 3:7-8). Ignorance is bliss and no one needs to know, so lets pretend it didn’t happen, say Adam and Eve as they hide in the bushes from an all-knowing Father, concealing their shame with leaves.

Why is our first response to hide our sin and pretend it doesn’t exist?

It’s part of our fallen nature, begun with Adam and Eve, and we’ve been doing it ever since. Pride pretends sin isn’t as bad as it really is, convinces us were ok, good people really. After all, have you seen what they did??

Isn’t that what happened in the bathroom renovation project? Cover-it-up was the default principle of the past owners over the years. Conceal it, it’ll be fine.

Except like mold and rot that refuses to be subdued, sin festers and grows and always finds a way out past the thing laid over it.

“Whoever conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Prov. 28:13

The first step toward recovering what we lost in the fall, is to acknowledge our sin for what it is – for how bad, how deep it really is, and how much it is hurting us – to our eternal perishing. And for that we need humility, which is painful and not our natural bent. It’s like the moment the boys had to acknowledge how serious the damage really was in the bathroom. It overwhelmed and discouraged them, but without addressing it there was no going forward rightly.

There are some precious promises in God’s Word that help the one who is at this cross-roads of concealing or confession – shall I cover it up or shall I acknowledge it? I encourage you to acknowledge it, dear one. Hear Jesus’ words…….

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:3

Blessed. It’s a promise; but it’s contingent on us being poor in spirit. J.C. Ryle helps us to understand what Jesus means by ‘poor in spirit’: “He means the humble, and lowly-minded and self-abased; he means those who are deeply convinced of their own sinfulness in God’s sight.”

Another promise?

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:4

Blessed. Don’t we all want to be blessed? Again, a promise of blessing, contingent on us mourning over something. What must we mourn over? J.C. Ryle helps us again with these words, “those who sorrow for sin, and grieve daily over their own shortcomings….blessed are all such!…..they shall be comforted.”

It is the humility of confession which begins the renovation project of our heart and soul. Confession doesn’t inform God of something He is unaware of. Confession agrees with God about our state of affairs (helpless) and acknowledges His greatness as the only source of real help. And when we do it, God begins a great work of transformation within us, that takes time (the rest of our lives here on earth), but will be worth it in the glorious end.

Do you want to be blessed? Are you poor in spirit, having seen your sin for what it is in God’s eyes, not the world’s? Have you mourned over it, and confessed it to the all-knowing God? You will certainly find mercy, comfort and the blessed kingdom of heaven when you do.

There is no going forward rightly into eternity any other way.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

3 thoughts on “Renovations. of the Heart.

  1. Thank you for this post! I found you through the comments on Cara Ray’s website. I clicked on your name and it took me to your website and this post. Your writing is beautiful, and you paint pictures with your words that touched my heart. Thank you for reminding me of the truth of our sin and the renovation the Lord brings when we bring ourselves to Him in repentance!

    Liked by 1 person

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