I used to love the show “Extreme Home Makeover”. Lives were changed in just seven days. It started with a story and a huge wrecking ball that came to demolish the old ailing house. When it was done there was no evidence of a dwelling.
The debris was cleared away and a new foundation was poured. Exterior walls went up and a roof was laid. The interior began to take shape and then the decorating began. At the end of the show the family returned to see a home that was beyond their wildest dreams. The bus pulled away revealing the work of many hands. A tour into each room revealed special touches made especially for their family. At the end of the show keys were placed in hands as the last words were spoken “welcome home.”
I loved watching things take place in that show. My favorite part was seeing the astonishment on the faces of the families as they realized that all they saw was theirs. Broken down dwellings were transformed into beautifully decorated brand spanking new residences and all of it belonged to them. The keys they held opened the door to a new life.
I’m realizing more than ever that this is my story.
I remember the days of study. I would be the best of the best. My striving would get me the sanctification I had been told would happen if I cooperated with God. I’d been taught that at salvation I was justified but that in order to be sanctified I must learn to obey. So help me God I would learn to obey. I began to try to make the old me better.
I was told that my sanctification would be an ongoing process. I would continue in it until the day I died. At some point when I reached heaven I would be complete.
But that’s not really how it is.
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t studied so much. It often makes it harder to see what you really don’t know. It took me a while to get there but somewhere in these last years God has awakened me to things I knew not of. Scales are falling off of my eyes now as I find my way into my reality. Nothing I do will ever make the old me better.
The day I met Jesus the wrecking ball showed up. The broken down dwelling of my flesh was torn asunder. It’s what Jesus meant when He said, “it is finished.” “The old has gone, the new has come.” The day I met Jesus a new dwelling was put in place. A new life began.
His words pierce out in declaration as He hands me the keys to life, “Welcome home, dear Jewel, welcome home.”
The truth is when the Creator of this world invaded my being I was instantly declared righteous, holy, godly and pure. I was sanctified. That is my reality. It’s not an act of behavior which demands obedience, it’s an acceptance of the gift that has been so freely given.
He invites me to dwell in what has been done. I have been declared righteous even on my worst day. He invites me to mature into what has been pronounced over me.
Baby steps are made leaving the desire to manage behavior behind causing something to shift inside me. Sin is losing it’s lure.
The truth is I am astounded when I realize that I am interwoven with Jesus as one. I want to live that, more than anything, I want it to be known.
Though the God of the ‘suddenly” invades my being, maturing isn’t an easy process.
I remember when my boys were young and the growing pains set in. They cried out often especially when it came time to sleep. Their legs ached to the point of great discomfort. It was all for good yet nothing about it felt good.
I have often felt the layers of flesh being exposed to be peeled away from me. At times leaving them behind has often felt awkward and wrong. Yet the old must go. I am not the same person I was a year ago. Slowly but surely I am maturing.
Years of striving for something that was already true leave me in awe of the God who does not relent. Nothing is wasted in His economy yet He would not settle until my heart was free to step into my new dwelling.
I’m learning to live in that new place, moment by moment. Some days I get lost, other days I feel at home.
His words are my constant in these days as they repeat in my head to tell me their truth. “Welcome home, dear Jewel, welcome home.” I am astonished as I realize this truly is my dwelling place.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” Ps. 91:1
©copyrighted: 2012; Julie L. Todd