Scripture: When anyone is joined to Christ, he [or she] is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. (II Corinthians 5:17)
Meditation: In the old terminal of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport one finds a large, brightly colored mural depicting the legendary phoenix. Egyptian mythology tells of a bird that rises from its own ashes to live again.
FBC’s 1995 mission team to Prague, Czech Republic went there to help raise the International Baptist Theological Seminary (ITBS) from the ashes of what had been a Nazi army camp during World War II and a Communist scientific laboratory compound during the Cold War. We went to work with paint, cement, muscle, sweat, and prayer to renovate this site of former evils into a hope-filled place of beauty where Christ’s life-giving love is now proclaimed. Although ITBS is no longer in existence, for nearly three decades the seminary made it possible for Christians from many lands to be equipped for spreading the gospel in their own countries.
While we labored to renovate the buildings of the old site, which contained some structures dated to the 1700’s, God was working on renovation in some of our lives, as no doubt has been true on many mission trips Tabernacle has sponsored
Sometimes these life “renovations” come not through pleasant experiences such as missions trips, but through painful ones which are difficult for us to understand. C.S. Lewis uses a beautiful metaphor to illustrate how Christ brings about change in our lives:
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
The last verse of the age-old hymn by Charles Wesley, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” echoes this theme of renovation:
Finish, then, Thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see Thy great salvation perfectly restored in Thee:
Changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Have you invited the Christ Child into your heart for renovation?
Prayer: O Lord, thank You for loving us so much that You were willing to come to earth as a lowly Babe, to suffer, die, and rise again for us, and now to transform us into a place where You may dwell. This Christmas may we willingly enlarge the place of Your dwelling in our lives. Amen.
For additional information about our Advent devotions and their authors, click here.