We recently went through ten weeks of a major home remodeling project. We are thrilled with the outcome — all bathrooms are updated, and more importantly, repaired. (There are no more leaks into my living room. This is a good thing.)
There is a problem with having a shiny new space in our home. Everything else starts to show its use and wear. The comfy couch in the basement has accumulated cat hair. And clutter. The countertops in the kitchen have crumbs and piles of… stuff. And the patio furniture shows the results of my very amateur use of spray paint. There’s spray that “traveled” from what I was painting to nearby grass and lawn furniture. Oops.
(Here’s a tip: Use lots of plastic sheeting to protect a large area around where you are spraying. LOTS.)
As I go about my work and home routines, though, I keep seeing the logo of a local home improvement store and their new tagline: “Never stop improving.” And I sigh. I’d love to work on several projects (there’s an ever-growing list) but I resist. And clearly, this is a “first world problem.”
You gotta hand it to these home improvement stores, though. They know how to feed an itch. Looking good is never good enough. You need to be magazine perfect. You need to look like the glossy photos of a “PinterLUST” pin.
Spiritual growth is not like this. It’s not driven by lust, by greed, by wanting more “stuff.” It is cultivated by tending to the qualities and attributes of Christlikeness, building them in to one’s life and heart. Though it is a continuous process, the reason why it is never complete is far different than a home improvement project.
Consider the words of Peter (I Peter 1):
3 By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. 4 Through his honor and glory he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces.
5 This is why you must make every effort to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love. 8 If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, I’ll “never stop improving” in the way I live my life and reflect God to others. But not to make myself look better than you. Instead, it’s a result of wanting to BE the Love I have experienced.
And that’s all Grace.