15 May Christian Life – a Lifetime of Renovation
Who does not like renovating their house? Whichever part of the world, a house is so dear that renovation is taken seriously. An article in consumerbuild.org mentions that renovating your house can be costly and inconvenient, but can also increase the value of investment and enjoyment of your home. Renovation involves ‘Update and remodel to give the house a fresher, more modern look – this could involve major changes such as taking out walls to enlarge a room, putting in a new kitchen, or installing new wallboards and ceilings.’ Did you know The Holy Bible talks of another kind of renovation, far more valuable than a house, one possessing eternal value? In Eph. 4:22-24, Paul is writing to the Church at Ephesus, exhorting them to Renovate or in other words Renew the attitude of their minds, which can empower them to Put off the old sinful habits and Put on the new blessed life which is created to be like God.
When one becomes a Christian, God puts into his or her heart, His Holy Spirit and that event opens a whole new world to a believer. We start thinking very differently from the world, our eyes are opened. A little baby cannot make a distinction between dirty and clean clothes but when this baby grows up, one fine day realizes and can make a distinction between dirty and clean clothes. Similarly, a Christian when he/she believes in Jesus and receives God’s Holy Spirit that fine day realizes he is wearing dirty and filthy garments characterized by sin and must put them off and urgently needs to put on the new garment clean and holy like God. This putting off and putting on is a conscious and deliberate effort by every Christian. When you become a Christian, you don’t throw away your mind but instead renew your mind constantly. Putting off and putting on touches every aspect of a Christian life. It is a complete renovation that has to take place in every area of our lives. It may be worthwhile to briefly look at four areas out of the many mentioned by Paul and try and apply to our lives.
Information: Falsehood vs Factual
Lying, deception is normal, common lifestyle of people in the world we live in and it is accepted as a norm in some countries including ours in certain circles; it seems to be harmless, compared to many other bigger crimes in our country. It is deeply rooted in many cultures. What does the Bible say about falsehood? Put off falsehood, just the way you put off dirty, stinking clothes which means lying, deception are out of place for a Christian because we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) but instead put on Truth, fitting for new creation. Doesn’t our spirit within us, convict us when we lie, deceive? That is the work of renewed mind as a result of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.
Anger: Give in vs Give up – Like lying anger is common, acceptable behavior as long as it does not bring harm to anyone. In fact psychologists accept anger as way of expression, good for health. And big egos, don’t give up anger easily, it continues for years, in homes, organisations, and sadly even in churches. But the Bible says, get rid of self-centered anger just like you would get rid of a cockroach or other pests in your home. Why? Out of place for a Christian! Instead, express anger at injustice, women issues in our country, corruption – there are no dearth of issues. However, don’t linger in any kind of anger. Give up anger early, keep short accounts, forgive. These are traits of a Christian lifestyle, result of a renewed mind
Wealth: Grab vs Give
The poor steal from only from the rich but the rich steal from the government and the poor. How? By not paying taxes and not paying full for service rendered by those we hire. When someone uses products or services and does not pay, it is nothing less than stealing. Big corporations, businessmen, even salaried evade taxes by not paying income tax, tax on capital gains, forging rent receipts and medical bills. We also want to take advantage of the poor and make them do more and pay less. We are living in times of prosperity, where purses have become big and better but the corrupt and spiritually dead mind is getting smaller and worse. The culture prevalent is about grabbing. A Christian’s renewed mind therefore thinks differently. Any form of stealing or cheating is detestable to a Christian. On the contrary the Bible exhorts us to give generously which may seem foolish from world’s point of view. No wonder, there is a clear difference between two minds. While grabbing is taking something that rightfully belongs to others. Giving is sharing something that rightfully belongs to us.
Speech: Break vs Build
In times that we live, unwholesome talk, abusive language, put down humor or language that breaks the other can be aired on Television and news channels and people can watch and even get entertained. Election campaigns are all about that. But doesn’t this happen in homes, too. Gary Chapman in his book, Five Love Languages writes that ‘Words of affirmation’ is a love language we all have and some have much greater need. Words have the power to break or build someone. Our spouses and children will blossom with words decorated with encouragement and appreciation. This is exactly what the Bible tells us to do. A new way of thinking, a renewed mind product.
While a renewed mind is the gift that God has given us through his Holy Spirit who is sealed in our lives, Renewing the mind constantly for the rest of our life is gift that we give to God. Every little or big area of our life, the decisions and choices we make are impacted by this function in our life. It is our responsibility which we should take far more seriously than renovating our homes. A house is very dear, our mind should be much dearer. How do we renew it constantly? By not conforming to the patterns of this world (Rom 12:2) but feeding on the word of God, read it, study it, meditate upon it and apply it and experience transformation. Just like a house renovation, it is costly, inconvenient at times but it increases the value of our mind. I mentioned this in an earlier article of mine and like quoting it again ‘A renewed mind is an Asset and a mind that is constantly renewed by the word of God is an appreciating asset’, far more rewarding that a 20 bedroom mansion, with swimming pool and lawn because it is lifeless but our mind is full of life on its way to eternal life.
The author lives in Hyderabad with his wife and two daughters, working for a US based Mutual Fund, involved with EU/EGF for the last 20 years.