Yesterday, as I was driving down the highway, I saw a sign advertising for a construction company that refurbished houses. The sign had a house that looked like it was about ready to fall over and above it the caption read, “Got Rot?” As I passed by this sign, I thought of my life, my spiritual life as a house, being built by God. The Bible tells us that we are being built up and that we have been placed on a solid foundation, which is Christ. The foundation is solid, but Paul also tells us to be careful what we build upon that foundation. (1 Cor. 3:10) As I pondered on these words, I thought about some areas in my life that the Lord has been speaking to me about. These areas are causing some of the wood in my house to rot. They are causing my house to be weakened. We all have areas in our lives that we know are not godly, that we know we must rid ourselves of, but we don’t, instead we hold onto them and soon these things begin to rot the frame.
“Then God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.’ And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves, and change your garments.’” Genesis 35:1-2
God spoke to Jacob much the same way He is speaking to me today. I have some sins, some areas in my life that are causing me to stumble in my faith, as well as holding me back from the place the Lord desires to take me. God speaks to Jacob and tells him to “Arise, go up...” Jacob is to leave the place where he is and move forward to a higher place. The word “arise” is defined as a going forward and the words “go up” refer to moving up to a higher mountain. We are to go forward moving to a higher mountain. This reminds me that the Lord God loves me too much to leave me where I am. God tells us today to go forward, we need to move up to a higher place, a place closer to Him, He wants to grow us and change us; He does not want to leave us where we are.
After this, Jacob tells his family to put away…purify…and change their garments. When we have sins, iniquities, and natures that are not of God, we are to put them away, purify our hearts and change. Remember, God does not want to leave us where we are, He wants us to continue to grow. The more we hold onto the things of the past, the past desires, dreams, sins, whatever it is that is holding us back, the more rot we will have in our homes. To put away means that we are to remove and avoid these areas that are rotting our cores. We are to turn away from them and turn back to God. We are to purify ourselves, which means that we are to lay before the Lord God the rotten beams and allow Him to cleanse us from the impurities, ridding us of the rot and replacing our structure with fresh wood.
“Throughout the Bible, garments symbolize character.” (Barnhouse) We are to put away all that is not of God in our lives, purify ourselves of these things, allowing God to cleanse us from them, and then we are to allow God to change our character. When I think back to whom I was before Christ and who I am now in Him, I am amazed at the transformation. But the transformation didn’t stop, it is still going. It takes time to build a house, especially when the house has rot, and needs to be refurbished. My house was full of rot, needing and still needing a lot of attention. The more I allow the Lord to build and refurbish, the more I realize how deep the rot goes.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24 that we are to “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness.” We are to put away the old man; we are to put away from ourselves anything that is going to cause rot. The old man will rot our frames, but the new man the Lord wants to build us up into is glorious and will last an eternity. We all have areas in our lives that have rot; we all have things we are holding onto from the old man. We have to allow God to rid the rot and make new the house, right down to the very last detail.
Jacob went and built an altar, and allowed God to work in him and through him there at Bethel, ridding himself and his family of all that was not of God. We want to lead godly lives, we want to live and walk as Christians, but so many of us are holding onto foreign gods, idols, and sins of the old man. If we want renewal, if we want a revived relationship with Jesus Christ, then we must allow Him to search out all the rot in our houses, and replace it all with His new wood.
Putting away things that we know God does not want in our lives is hard. We want to hold onto these things because they are familiar, they are comfortable, and they are a part of who we are. But God says to us, “I love you too much to leave that rot in your house.” He loves us too much to leave us in the broken down state we are in; He desires to take us higher.
All this rotten wood that is sitting around in your house, give it to the Lord today. Place it upon the altar of His grace and allow Him to purify and cleanse you, allow Him to give you new garments and throw away the old ones. Refurbishing a house takes time, and it is not easy, but for those of us who desire to live in a holy, godly house, refurbishing is necessary. I pray that you will take some time today with the Lord and allow Him to show you the rot in your timbers, and allow Him to replace them with His grace filled, mercy filled, love filled wood. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen and Amen.