Ministers Corner: 'Have you ever thought of yourself as a fixer upper?'

·3 min read
Rev. Ray Belford, pastor of Shawnee First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Ray Belford, pastor of Shawnee First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

During this past Season of Advent, I thought is was rather strange the theme for the third week was “Joy,” particularly when we hear John the Baptist calling those coming to repent “a brood of vipers.” In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much joy in anything that John the Baptist says at this point.

Yet, repentance and forgiveness are something that should bring joy to our lives.

I have a question for you, “Have you ever thought of yourself as a fixer upper?”

I am sure most of you have seen a variety of these shows which have become extremely popular. Normally, there are a couple of people who are looking for a house that needs some work. They choose a house, and within a few weeks, the house is changed, both on the outside and on the inside. The restored home fills them with joy when the reveal is done. They squeal with joy when they see how something that was deteriorating now looks beautiful. Their screams of joy typically continue as they see the inside and particularly when they see the kitchen which in today’s world is seen as the heart of the home.

So, I ask the question again, “Have you ever thought of yourself as a fixer upper?” I believe God does. I believe this is what John was preaching and this is why people were flocking to him. They are looking for themselves to be restored.

That’s what Christ came to do for us, to give us a total make-over on the inside where the center of our life is revealed in a changed heart, and where that change becomes reflected on the outside.

You have probably heard it said that God loves you the way you are, but He doesn’t want you to stay that way.

When we repent and are truly sorry for the things we have done, we are supposed to change. This is exactly what John tells those who came out to the wilderness to hear him. He didn’t just talk about repentance or highlight guilt and wrongdoing. He zoomed in on the major changes that needed to be made in their lives and maybe in our lives.

The people knew they needed a make-over so they asked John, “What should we do?”

John’s response is surprisingly simple—and to tell the truth, easy. He tells them to share from their excess. He tells the tax collectors to be honest and not take more than is due. He told the soldiers to treat people fairly and not to extort money from anyone by threats or false accusations and to be satisfied with their wages.

I don’t know about you, but John gets in my face in what he says. At times I do feel like a fixer upper, someone God can enter and knock down a few walls to open-up to make more room for Him; someone God can replumb so that my heart has more love for Him and for my neighbor; rewire me so the electricity of the Holy Spirit flows throughout. I am reminded of the words of an old children’s song: “I’ve got joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.”

We don’t even have to pay for our restorations. Jesus paid the price for our restorations because Jesus paid the price long ago…the price He came into the world to pay when He died on the cross for our sins.

This article originally appeared on The Shawnee News-Star: Ministers Corner: 'Have you ever thought of yourself as a fixer upper?'