God the House Builder

old homeFor six months I watched a plot of land in my neighborhood being prepared for the building of a house. All of the trees were cut down and then the ground was leveled so the concrete could be poured for the foundation to be set in place. Next, the concrete was poured—but nothing more.

Until something is built upon this foundation, it will be only wasted space.

Looking at the current space, one can conclude it would have been better for the workers to have kept the trees instead of installing the slab of concrete that now adorns the neighborhood. Even as we often focus on the foundational truths of our faith and how they relate to God’s desire for us to be holy, if we do not build upon this foundation we are quite similar to this empty plot of land.

If we choose not to enter into the process of holiness, we are simply wasted space.

Consider God as a house builder and us as the house He is building and how this relates to our union with Him.

If each of us is an individual house and God is the builder, it would be easy for us to become concerned when He starts knocking down walls and redoing the entire kitchen. Likely He wouldn’t stop there because the furnace needs to be fixed, and all the windows and fixtures are old and need to be replaced. If we were the houses it wouldn’t be long before we would wonder why God is doing all this extra work.

For most of us, our homes are not spectacular but average, and that’s good enough for us. We never had a desire for the biggest house and the greenest yard. A simple place to call home was all we ever wanted. We would probably explain to God that even though our house may never become perfect, we can be comfortable with it; our house can still be a home.

Of course the answer God would give is that it isn’t just a home He desires to build for us. As C.S. Lewis reminds us in Mere Christianity, “He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

This process of holiness is fraught with potholes, natural disasters, death, failures, and honest mistakes. In a word, holiness is messy. The seemingly impossible circumstances God places us in are not Him holding out on us, or Him trying to tempt us into sin and shame. No, often God places these impossible circumstances for a truer holiness to be birthed in our lives through our reliance upon His power. It is in the moments of life when we see no other option than to give up that God extends His gentle hand to us. He desires to carry us, yet we’re often looking the other direction.

The most difficult times in life should drive us toward relationship with Him, allowing His holiness to shape us. Too often we stop short of engaging in relationship with God, forcing ourselves to stay in the status quo of life. In paraphrase of G.K. Chesterton: Holiness has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found too demanding and not tried.

Partnering with God as we build our lives around holiness will take difficult, hard work.

This post is an excerpt from Why Holiness Matters

Having written this over 2 years ago now, I drove by this plot of land recently, wondering if it would look different. Nope. A bunch of wasted space. How sad.