I used to love watching those design shows on HGTV where a family or individual would win the privilege of having a room or sometimes two totally recreated by a professional. The rooms would often start out as little more than utilitarian and end up so extraordinary it would make you just want to live in your new kitchen or bathroom. Extreme Home Makeover is one of those shows that goes even further, sometimes finding such dilapidated homes and turning them into something close to a resort. Because the extraordinary metamorphosis was always certain and was the whole point of the endeavor, I thought it was funny when on some show the homeowner would feel hurt or defensive about some aspect of the room that was about to be demolished. I felt like reminding them, “You called THEM because you know what an eye sore this room is! Who cares why you chose that paint color ten years ago…it is going to be so much better in about half an hour t.v. time!”
But, its just not much different than me with my own heart’s “boring paint colors” and utilitarian habits. I know my heart is not always inviting, warm or cozy and that the clutter and knick knacks that have accumulated there can be exhausting to be around, but its familiar and in that way, safe. What if I don’t like the redesign Jesus has in mind? What if He asks me to throw out that awesome collection of trophies and memorabilia that lines its walls?
But truthfully, when I visit a home where “stuff” fills every bit of floor and wall space, it does feel claustrophobic and kind of stressful, actually. When the “stager” came to our home before we put it on the market and made us put most of our stuff in storage, it felt bleak and empty. But pretty soon we also noticed it felt bigger, cleaner, more inviting, and far more restful without all that stuff we thought we could never live out.
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Rev. 19:7-8
In the first year after Chad was born, my mom graciously sent help in the form of the kindest woman to clean our home every other week. But this gift wore me out so much that I ended up discontinuing it. Before she came each time, I would scurry around cleaning up so she wouldn’t think we were total pigs! With a newborn baby, it was just too much. Rediculous, right? The very point of her coming was to clean for us so that I could rest and take care of my children, but I missed the gift (and neglected my children) because of my pride and desire to just have her do the details, the finishing touches if you will.
My Christian life is no dfferent. I read “made herself ready” in places like the verses above, skipped some words and then returned to focus on “righteous acts of the saints.” The words my Christian Pharisee relgious self missed? “was given her to wear.” She made herself ready by putting on the righteous acts given her to wear! Jesus fulfilled the Law for all the saints (who could not ever do it themselves after Adam), exhaustively and perfectly, and clothes me in HIS righteous acts. What good does it do to defend the tacky, clausterphobic areas of my heart and scurry around trying to clean it all the time when I have been gifted with His heart makeover?
“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” Rev. 21:2-5 (bold mine)