|Breaking Down To Build Up
Jeremiah 1:10 “See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
As I sit in my living room this morning, I’m looking at a very disheveled situation in our home. The refrigerator is in the dining room, along with the gas range. The microwave is in the back yard, all the dishes are on the dining table, the coffee maker is in the bathroom, the dishwasher is in the garage, and the comfort of our home is significantly disturbed. (This is the place for a wild-eyed emoji that communicates unrest and dis-ease.)
What is going on? Our kitchen is being remodeled, with new cabinets and countertops going in. The problem is that before the new stuff can go in, the old stuff had to come out. The process is long and somewhat messy, with necessary precautions being taken not to damage existing flooring or furnishings that are not part of the process. At some point, in a couple more weeks, the project will be finished and we’ll be glad we did it. Right now – not so much.
This process reminds me of a dream I had a number of years ago. It was several years after my father had passed away, and I was in the midst of a time of powerful spiritual growth and re-wiring as God was shifting me out of my denominational roots into the move of the Holy Spirit. In the dream, my father, who clearly represented the Heavenly Father, was knocking on the door of my house. As I answered the door, I saw that he was accompanied by two large men, who I knew to be angels.
As I welcomed my Father into the house, I knew in the dream that he was coming to move in with me. A great dread filled my heart as he looked around the house, and then fixed his eyes on mine in a kind but sober gaze. Then he said, “This isn’t going to be nearly large enough.”
As he spoke those words, I felt a fearsome trembling in my soul as I realized that a great expansion was going to take place in me, but that there would have to be much demolition before the construction could begin. His workers would have to break down and destroy many things before they could build and plant. The strongholds of my mind – those old thought processes and attitudes – would have to be broken down, and replaced with new patterns of the mind that would conform to those of Heaven. Familiar habits with long-term negative implications would have to be dismantled, and new patterns installed. You get the picture.
I found myself wishing that remodeling could happen instantly, like on TV, in an hour or so, with no inconvenience, no mess, no discomfort – becoming all new without the pain of eliminating the old stuff. But things simply don’t work that way, either in remodeling a kitchen or in transforming the human heart from its natural state into the glorious reality of becoming the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
As I write this, the workers installing our new cabinets are whistling joyfully as they labor in the mess of our kitchen remodel. They have the blueprint attached to the wall, so they can precisely follow the instructions of the designer. They know that the end result will be good, for our benefit and joy. I imagine the angels are whistling away as well as they continue to tear down, pluck up, plant and re-build my heart, following the design of the Master Craftsman that will transform this old heart into the palace God created it to be. It’s a joyful process after all, uncomfortable though it may be for awhile.
Thank you, Jesus, that you who have begun a good work in me will complete it until the day of your return.
Gary Wiens, 3/10/2017