For a while my brother and myself realised the need to decorate the hall landing and stairs. Especially as we had rewiring done which meant the 40 year old embossed wall paper (with many coats of paint giving it a plastic look) was damaged beyond repair. We knew it would be a big job, so this Christmas we started it.
Steaming off the paper which revealed the plaster was damaged. So Ian, being a plasterer, started to remove some of the plaster. This revealed even more damaged plaster resulting in a third of all the walls needing to be plastered. Then there was the ceiling where a leak from the hot-water boiler (now gone) had cause some damage but after examining it and my brother putting his fist through the ceiling we realised it needed to come down and re-boarded and plastered. With that down, it revealed the floorboards of the airing cupboard had rotted (it was at this point that we decided we would not remove the floorboards instead paint them with anti fungicide and hope no one would try and stand in the airing cupboard).
Then there was the decision to wall paper or paint. Painting, which we preferred, required the walls to be scraped of all glue and washed and then sanded down. Also cracks to be gouged and refilled and sanded. What was a modest job has become a herculean task. At any stage we could have compromised and tried the easier option but we decided we would do it properly and hoped that in several weeks everything would be done. With any job that we start out on we know from past experience it won’t be easy and will reveal problems that we are not fully aware of that will need sorting.
This experience reminds me powerfully of the way the christian life works. We come to know Christ and if we have been taught well we realise that the Holy Spirit is going to start the job of renovating us. Removing the sinful habits, changing our lifestyles altering our attitudes. To begin with we may recognise some of the problems that God has got to sort out in us. This may be daunting, but what we don’t realise is all the hidden problems, that the task is much bigger than we imagined. We thought it was a simple job of redecorating or a little touch up and slight alterations of our life. Instead, we begin to become suspicious that God is going to do a far more profound change. That every room in our lives is going to stripped, rewired, redecorated and all the bad stuff removed.
At first sight that may seem bad news… We thought we needed just a little change not a profound makeover. Yet I know when I finish the decorating, there will be a sense of a job well done which will make all the work more than worthwhile. In the same way, when Christ is finished with us and presents us to God the Father we will know that all the refining, all the work that has been done on our lives will be more than worthwhile as we stand perfect before the Father.
Yet now he has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. – Colossians 1:22
It may be tempting to make shortcuts to ignore the Holy Spirit as He challenges various attitudes and lifestyles, but let’s listen to Him and allow His power and grace to do it’s work in our lives, however much discomfort occurs… It will be more than worth it in the end as we are presented before God without a single fault.