I am not a handyman. I never have been a “DIY” (do it yourself) type person, though I often wish I had the aptitude and temperament for it. We have a storm door on the front of our house, which allows us to leave the wooden door open and still be protected from rain or dust or insects. We can see out and the sun can shine in. The glass is clean and in good shape. Everything about the door is fine… except for the handle. The handle has gotten very loose. In fact, sometimes when you grab the handle and pull it to open the door, the side of the handle you are holding will pull out of the door and you will be left holding it in your hand. The door is fine, but the handle is broken.
This sounds like an accurate description of the situation, and on the surface, it is. But upon further examination, it is also accurate to say the door is broken. Even though only a portion of the door is broken, in effect, the whole of the door is broken. Without a properly functioning handle, the door can’t perform the task it is designed to do.
I foolishly thought I would repair the door myself by simply swapping the old handle for a new one.
A logical idea I suppose, but not a successful endeavor.
I have yet to find a handle that will fit the door. It seems I can find every other size, shape, and type, but not the one I need. I will likely have to replace the whole door if I want it to function as it should.
This ordeal with my door reminds me of the most fundamental reality of our spiritual lives. We are broken, and we cannot function according to the way in which we were designed. We tend to think we really just need some small repair of a few things that don’t quite work right, but in fact, we need to be made new.
Our old self needs to be thoroughly and
completely replaced by a new self.
It is not simply we are, for the most part, good and have a few rough spots. James 2:10 tells us if we break any portion of God’s Law, it is as if we were guilty of the whole of the Law. We don't just need a new handle, the whole door needs to be replaced!
This is why Jesus spoke of the absolute necessity of being “born again” in John 3. We tend to think we can make a few minor corrections to our lives and everything will be just fine, but Jesus died for much more than that. He makes it abundantly clear it is not a piecemeal repair job that is required, but the only way for the brokenness of our lives to be fixed is by the miracle of new birth. This is not a DIY project we can fix on our own, it is new life only God can provide.
This continues to be our situation in life, even after conversion. To live and function the way God designed for us, requires more than our best effort to make wrong things right. It requires our total surrender in to God’s hands in order that His life can make our lives into the image of Christ. Don’t get caught up in the trap of thinking minor “DIY” repairs will do the job.