Home improvement shows such as Flip or Flop and Property Brothers are fairly common these days. In each episode, people who seem to have almost unlimited financial resources purchase a house that is well past its prime and then fix it up for resale. Usually, they end up making a great deal of money in the process.
Sometimes, the “fixer upper” needs only a few cosmetic changes such as Shaker cabinets and granite countertops. Oftentimes, walls need to be moved so as “open things up,” and outsides need to be painted so as to improve “curb appeal.” But, occasionally, there are deeper issues to be addressed—cracks in the foundations, rusty lead pipes, or heating ducts wrapped in asbestos. Regardless of the depth of the problems, however, everything is resolved about 20 minutes into the show.
As I was watching one of these shows recently, I got to thinking about how what these professional flippers do to houses compares to what God does for us in Jesus Christ. Though God created us to be a perfect reflection of himself, the reality of sin badly distorts that reflection. In many ways, we are in at least as bad a shape inside as are the house being flipped in these home improvement shows.
At some point, the reality of our own sinfulness becomes clear to us; and we ask God for help. For example, once David realized the enormity of his sin against Bathsheba, he cried out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” God heard David’s plea and “fixed him up” by reorienting the direction of his life. He became God’s broken-yet-forgiven servant.
All of this says to us that God stands ready, willing, and able to “fix us up” the moment we admit our shortcomings and ask for his help. Such admissions are difficult because we don’t like to acknowledge our flaws. But we are all flawed—and not just superficially. The person who says that he or she is “just a little bit sinful” is like the woman who says that she is “just a little bit pregnant.”
The apostle John wrote, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But, if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In other words, when it comes to our souls, God is the “ultimate flipper.”
Submitted by Mark Vance
New Hope Lutheran Church,
Reprinted from January 23, 2019