Yesterday, while skimming over quotes from some of my reading in years past, these paragraphs from D. A. Carson’s book, Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation, jumped out and encouraged me.
Picture a couple carefully marshaling enough resources to put together a down payment. They buy their house, recognizing full well that it needs a fair bit of work. They can’t stand the black and silver wallpaper in the master bedroom. There are mounds of trash in the basement. The kitchen was designed for the convenience of the plumber, not the cook. The roof leaks in a couple of places, and the insulation barely meets minimum standards. The electrical box is too small, the lighting in the bathroom is poor, the heat exchanger in the furnace is corroded. But still, it is this young couple’s first home, and they are grateful.
The months slip past, then the years. The black and silver wallpaper has been replaced with tasteful pastel patterns. The couple has remodeled their kitchen, doing much of the work themselves. The roof no longer leaks, and the furnace has been replaced with a more powerful unit that also includes a central air conditioner. Better yet, as the family grows, this couple completes a couple extra rooms in the basement and adds a small wing to serve as a study and sewing room. The grounds are neatly trimmed and boast a dazzling rock garden. Twenty five years after the purchase, the husband one day remarks to his wife, “You know, I really like it here. This place suits us. Everywhere we look we see the results of our own labor. This house has been shaped to our needs and taste, and I really feel comfortable.”
One of the great wonders of the Christian life is that Christ indwells us by His Spirit: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). And as the Spirit sanctifies us through the Word and our diligent application of it to our heart and life, He becomes more and more “at home” in us and we see the results of our labor together–growth in holiness, Christlikeness. Therefore,
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.Col. 3:16