Some people buy what you and I would call a fixer-upper. The term and the process has become so popular there’s even a show on cable TV so-named. Whether you have a pioneer spirit and get warm fuzzies from seeing something old become something new right before your eyes, or whether you simply want to make some extra cash, the idea of turning a pile of rubble into a glamorous dwelling is an arduous process. From the search, to the securing, and then finally to the transformation of that property takes time, money, patience, and effort. I know. I’ve done it. My family has done it (bathroom pictured above). They, as well as I, can tell you that it’s a lot of work. Even if you don’t decide to live in your fixer-upper, it’s a labor of love that begins with the signing of the deed and ends with your decision to sell it or list it. Depending on what your end-game is and how the many snags you will encounter along the way affect your health and relationships, the fixer-upper can be a good thing. When you take on the fixer-upper, your hope is that you can turn something ugly into something beautiful in record time.
That’s what God does with you and with me. Once we choose to follow Him, once we repent of our sins, His Holy Spirit begins the process of sanctification in us. What in the world does that word mean? Well, when we are truly born again, we go through a sort of moral renovation similar to how that bathroom (pictured above) was renovated. Do we agree that the before is atrocious and the after is stunning? That bathroom was changed from what it once was into something beautiful. Does it need cleaning now and again? Of course it does, but nevertheless, the transformation is amazing. And we see it. We see what the bathroom was, and we see what the bathroom is now. The point is that we see the difference. From the moment the Holy Spirit comes into our bodies, the sanctification or renovation process begins. It’s similar to the starting date of the gutting of that bathroom. The old slowly becomes new. The change might be gradual, but it is definitely noticeable. Step by step, God takes away our old desires and gives us His desires, desires that weren’t there before, the desire to live holy lives, the desire to pray, the desire to worship Him, the desire to help others, the desire to love as He loves. We become more Christlike as time moves on. That is the assurance or the fruit of our salvation. That’s how we know we are saved. However, just as the bathroom pictured above needs cleaning periodically, our lives do as well. Like the apostle Paul says in Romans 7:15, For I do not understand my own actions. I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. There is a war going on at all times between the Spirit and the flesh, (Romans 8:13: For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live) but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to put to death our sinful desires and get on with the holy renovation.