(August 22, 1990)
We have been in Moose Jaw less than two weeks and already I’ve had eight visits from various repair people: plumbers, electricians and a handy man who can fix anything non-mechanical. We’ve had our refrigerator replaced once --the first one (compliments of the management) had all the inside door racks broken off, and now the newer one seems to need a compressor.
After much experience in first-month-at-a-new-address, this is not unusual. Many items need attention and after everything is put in good working order, it will be up to us to keep it that way. Certainly every home needs a maintenance plan. Without constant upkeep, things start falling apart. Funny how I expect my soul to be different...
Spiritually, I can imagine the fix-it list the Lord made when He first took up residence in me. Broken heart, warped thoughts, crooked speech, corroded values, splintered relationships, and various shreds of this and that all through me. What a mess. But He rolled up His sleeves and set to work.
Now, after twenty years, the more He tinkers and fusses with me, the more I realize how badly damaged my life has been. Sin is like that. It doesn’t matter if He pulls us out of the gutter from life-long bad habits or if He grabs us when we are children, the sin nature of a human being is like acid to fine metal; it will ruin us -- unless He makes us new creatures -- then keeps everything in top-notch working order. But I tend to forget my part in the process. I am supposed to call on the Repairman daily.
Someone once quipped: “If I miss time with God for one day, God notices; if I miss two days, I notice... but if I lapse three days, everyone notices.” Just like a house, if we don’t maintain our relationship with God, something starts falling apart.
Jesus compared our responsibility with building a house: “Whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. But every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).
Notice the key to upkeep: hearing His words AND doing them. It isn’t enough to just hear. That is why some professing Christians can go to church each week, hear the Word of God taught and preached, yet their life is in shambles. When trials come and the foundation is sand, nothing stands.
Hearing alone does not equal spiritual strength -- just as reading a home maintenance guide doesn’t get the plumbing fixed; however, knowledge of God’s Word ought to be like a damage inspection. As in a house, sometimes our lives fall apart because we didn’t know we had weak or rusty spots. God holds us responsible to make sure everything is working according to the Book.
As we allow light from the Lord to examine every nook and cranny of our lives and discern our condition, we will find His Word shows us what needs fixing, and also gives instruction as to our part in the repairs, even outlining what kind of tools will be required. Certainly obedience should be the most well-worn item. If it is, some of the others, like confession and repentance, will not be needed as often.
Our condo will be put in shape and stay that way for several weeks, even if we do no maintenance whatsoever -- but my soul is not quite that stable. Without moment by moment cooperation with my Divine Maintenance Man, disobedience and its partner, deterioration, quickly prevail.