There's a wonderful old Cary Grant movie titled "Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House."  The movie details the Blandings family's moving from a cramped city apartment into a large renovated home in New England.  The movie shows in hilarious ways all the trials and tribulations of the renovation.  I think it's an excellent picture of the work Christ seeks to do in not only individual lives, but in His Church as well.
     Jesus told us in the gospels that He has "gone ahead to prepare a place for you (us) so that where I am, you may be also."  Now, we usually understand this to mean He's getting our home in heaven ready for our eventual arrival, but if we only see it that way, we are missing so much of what He means.  The preparation of that home begins right now.  Christ engages in an on site "renovation project" in our hearts and spirit aimed at making them His home just as, even more, than they are ours.  The difference is, we don't get to move out while the renovation is going on.
      In the movie, the condition of the home being renovated was such that they literally had to tear it down from the inside out.  It was ready to collapse inwardly and only by removing all the old supporting structures and replacing them with new, strong ones, would they be able to make a home that was livable.  Again, this is not at all different from what the Lord will seek to do in our lives.   Psalm 51:6 says that the Father desires "truth in our innermost being."  When He undertakes a renovation of our hearts and lives, that means all the old lies that we have believed, found security in, but that are in reality rotting and collapsing, must be torn out, and His power and strength and truth will replace them.  Just as living in a home while it is undergoing renovation can be both painful and frutrating, so too will our renovation in Christ.
      His Word speaks much about the spiritual "strongholds" that may be present in our lives.  The strongholds are anything that we have allowed to become an alternative to God and in which we seek security in.  As Donald Rumble says, "They exist in our minds and inhibit the revelation of the Lord in our midst."  His renovation will expose and remove these hindrances, these lies, and replace them with His truth.  These strongholds that provide a false sense of security are endless.  Some of the ones Rumble names are "defensiveness, judgemental attitudes, anger, and self centeredness."  We can find security in these as well in material things, success in business or ministry, relationships, and a myriad of addictions.  Proverbs 18:10 says, "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe."  The sad reality is that we have run to and sought safety and security in so many "names" that are not His Name.  Because of it, rot has set in, and sooner or later, our house will collapse.  This will be true of an individual, a family, and especially, the Church.  All our alternative to Him, all those places we have sought our sufficiency in, all of these strongholds, must be torn down.  It's the only real way He can "prepare for us a place."
     Where in our lives, our families, and yes, our church fellowships, have we constructed alternatives to God?  Where is the spiritual rot?  Where have we placed our dependence.  As individuals and families, do we find security in our education, training, income, possessions, and the regard of those around us?  As a church, do we find it in our buildings, our programs and ministries, our skilled and gifted leaders and laity, or our denominational heritage?  If we do, Christ the Workman stands before us.  He who was a carpenter, knows well how to tear down and rebuild what is collapsing in upon us even now, whether we know it or not.  He stands at the door of the soon to fall "house."  Will we bid Him enter....and begin the renovation?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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