Summary: To makeover your home, you have to destruct before you can construct.
I’ve never remodeled a house but I have remodeled a church. Ten years ago I served as Minister of Music at my parents’ church in Louisiana. While I was there, we were in the process of relocating to another church facility owned by the congregation. Phase One of the building project involved demolishing about twenty feet of the existing education wing to make room for a new 350-seat worship center and five room preschool suite. Since Dad was chairman of the building committee, he and I headed over one Saturday to begin the work. We had one main tool: a sledge hammer. With the sledge in my hand and passion in my eye I asked, “Where do I start?” “Anywhere.” Dad said, “All of these walls need to come out.” “O.K.” Wham! . . . I think I had the most fun that day, partly because the building project was underway and partly because it’s just a manly thing to tear stuff up!
Before we could construct we had to destruct. The new facility would not fit on the lot if we didn’t tear off that twenty feet. Neither could any remodeling take place without the old being torn away.
The same is true in making over our families. To makeover your home, you have to destruct before you can construct.
That’s where we are in our series “Home Makeover for Families.” Last week we realized the need for the makeover. We saw how the Christian family is in trouble today and how the breakdown of the home is wreaking havoc in our church, community, and society. There is a dire need for righteous families. Last week, we realized that there is a need for change out there, but I also emphasized that there is a need for change in here (church) and in here (individually). I hope you have realized that one of the first things needed in making over your family is for you to allow God to makeover you. Remember, it takes the hard work of everyone in the family to build a righteous home.
But where do we go from here? We know there’s a need. But what’s the next step?
Well, it’s time to begin the process of making over our families. Phase One of that process is destruction. Today we’ll start the process of gutting our homes of their problems, many, if not all, of which are related to sin.
In James 4, James calls us to a right relationship with God. This right relationship allows God to do amazing work within us, thus completely revolutionizing our life and our relationships. James makes a “massive call to emergency action in relationship to God” because he sees the seriousness of sin. It is an emergency call we need in our homes. Consider verses 7-10, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God, and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
To makeover your home you have to destruct before you can construct. It is imperative that you do so. If you do not tear out the old, there will be no room for the new. If you do not get rid of the old, the new will not look very good.
Because the destruction is imperative, James uses ten imperatives in just four verses. As we encounter each of these imperatives, we discover how to gut our house so God can begin His work of renewal. In this passage, I see at least four ways to gut our homes.
The first way to gut your home is through submission to God and resistance of the devil (v. 7).
Much of the reason homes are in crisis today is due to the fact that the family members are focused on themselves. They are focused on their own desires, wishes, and dreams and not on those of anyone else. Truly, that attitude must be ripped out of the home. Instead of submitting to their desires, family members need to submit to God. “Submit yourselves to God,” James says.
The word “submit” in the Greek is a compound word that consists of a preposition meaning “under” and a verb meaning “to place.” So submit means “to place under.” The picture is a military one. If we want to change our families, we must put them and ourselves under something – or someone. And that someone is God.
The other side of submission to God is resistance of the devil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The word resist continues the military metaphor. The word is another compound of a verb, “to stand,” and a preposition, “against.” So resist means “to stand against.” “The picture is of a believer submitting to the orders of the Lord and standing against the devil.” The devil has no power over you other than making evil attractive. The choice to yield or resist evil belongs to you.