My family and I recently moved. The sad thing is that we had only been living in our previous residence for about 2 years. Why the sudden move? Let’s just say that my wife is a country girl through and through, so when we moved to a house in the city, she wasn’t happy. It’s not like it was unsafe or our neighbors were unfriendly; she just didn’t like the city. Now, we’re in a house in a very quiet neighborhood in the country. Behind our house is a massive field. Next to that is a graveyard. Almost immediately across the street…a church. Needless to say, we left the noise of the city behind us. I used to use a fan to drown out the noise of the city. Now, I use the fan to drown out the silence.
Despite the fact that our new house cost way more than our previous 2 houses put together, it still needed some improvements. For example, we had to change 2 plugs from 2-prong to 3-prong. Then, I had to remove a cabinet so that we could bring our refrigerator. When we tried to use the washer, the shut-off valves leaked. As I was trying to replace them, a pipe under the house burst. Let’s just say that getting under our house is about as tight as a crawling tour at Carter Caves. After playing a game of Twister under the house replacing the broken pipe, we finally stopped the leaking. Now, I’m working on adding a bedroom to our garage, which, by the way, I have to do without my wife’s help because she doesn’t like it.
In the book of James, we read that God gave us His Word, the Bible, to use as a spiritual mirror to check ourselves against His standards for holiness and faithfulness. We can read God’s Word to identify areas of our lives that need “repair” and use the wisdom and instructions that we find there to grow and become the people that He has called us to be. There are so many areas of our lives where Satan can attack us and encourage us to stray from God’s will and the ways that He wants us to live. For some of us, it’s how, where, and with whom we spend our time. Jobs, sports, school, and other things can easily fill our schedule and tempt us to replace time that we should be spending with God, His Word, and His church with worldly things. Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:19-21 to store up treasures in heaven, not on earth. He also tells us why this is so important: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21, NASB). In other words, if we fill our lives with worldly, empty things, the end result will be a heart that is also empty and worldly. Paul says the same thing to the church in Colossians 3:2: “Set your minds on the things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.” Paul gives a different reason for following these instructions: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3, NASB). He reminds us of who we are in Christ. We have died to worldly things and are now part of God’s family, His church. The Bible is filled with instructions for how Christians are supposed to change from who we were before the day we gave our lives to Jesus into the type of people that God has called us to be. It’s no wonder that so many times we see the word repent used along with instructions for salvation and Christian living. Take for example Peter’s instructions to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, NASB). God gives us His Spirit and forgiveness for our sins at baptism. From that day on, it’s our job and our calling to live by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh. It would be nice if all of the things that tempted us before our conversion stopped tempting us, but sadly, that’s not the case. They still tempt us, but the difference is that we no longer have to fight the temptation alone. We have God’s Holy Spirit inside of our hearts, guiding us through God’s Word in our daily battles against sin and temptation. God gave us His Word, His Spirit, and His Church to help us make the necessary “repairs” in our lives. We have to make the choice to take advantage of those precious gifts, submit to His will, and work daily to be the people that He has called us to be.