I don’t know about you, but I would not mind if we could rewind and do the last year all over again. Not that I would want to repeat all the events of this past year, but like the movie “Groundhog Day”, the second time through we could make adjustments and do the year better!
The December 20, 2004, issue of Time magazine had an article describing the television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” It told the story of Alice Harris of South Central Los Angeles.
She still remembers the day the good people from ABC volunteered to demolish her house. In 2003, a flood had left the community activist and her family, who had no insurance, living in one bedroom. Worst of all, the waters had ruined a stash of Christmas toys Harris had collected for poor children.
Harris said, “I figured no one was going to come to Watts and help us. No one had ever done that.” But “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” found her. Its bullhorn-wielding host, Ty Pennington, shipped Harris and her family off for a week’s vacation in Carlsbad, California, while over 100 workers and neighbors tore her home down to the foundation and built a new, bigger one.
They replaced the Christmas toys and donated appliances, mattresses, and landscaping to her flood-stricken neighbors. They even threw in a basketball court for the neighborhood kids. Now that’s an extreme makeover.
That is just one example of many such programs, and all of these extreme makeovers have something in common: an outsider comes in with a one-two-three program. First, that outsider sees the possibilities you couldn’t see. Second, that outsider does what you couldn’t do. Third, that outsider pays for what you could not afford to pay.
Ironically, that same philosophy is the framework for each and every one of us. We live in this world and, whether we know it or not, we are in a desperate condition. That desperate condition is called sin and it affects everything about us, including the way we live.
The one thing that makes it so desperate is the same thing that makes the families that Ty Pennington helps so desperate as well. Those desperate families need Ty’s help as well. And Ty comes to the rescue! The home is transformed, sometimes even demolished and then rebuilt, and all at no cost to the family!
So it is also for each of us in our sinful condition. There is no way we can get out of that condition ourselves.
We cannot help ourselves. We cannot get out of our desperate condition on our own. We need outside help. And the price is too high for us to pay. We cannot afford it. We could not pay it if we could afford it!
God is in the extreme makeover business. He’s in the business of transforming your life and mine.
The Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “…the wages of sin is death” and “God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ dies for us.” (Romans 3:23; 6:23; and 5:8).
In other words, we are in a desperate condition and unable to get out of it ourselves, but Christ intervened in our lives and rebuilt our lives, paying the total cost of our sin himself! But his makeover is a little bit different in one other area. The reality show makeover is an external job. God’s is an internal job. He makes you a new person from the inside out.
For those who place their trust in Christ, you don’t have the megaphone-wielder yelling “Move that bus!” Rather the Bible tells us that He completely makes our lives over: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
In other words, the promise of a new life in Christ is a sure thing! We never have to guess as to whether or not anything special is on the other side of that bus! We can always be sure of the transformation!
There is one other similarity between the television program and the life you and I now live. Ty Pennington and his crew never go into a rebuilding situation unless they are invited and encouraged and permitted to do so. It is not a sure thing! Neither is it universal.
Likewise, God will never force His way into our lives. Salvation is not universal to all. He will only come into our lives if we ask Him.
I do not know what all the qualifications are for those families who are featured on the program, but I am quite sure that more apply than are accepted. And that is where the analogy breaks down.
Anyone who comes to God and repents of their sin and seeks to be rebuilt and “made over” through the shed blood of Christ on the cross will be forgiven, and they will experience this remarkable change promised by God in His Word. “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
My friends, we may not get the chance to do the year 2020 over again, but God does want to make each of us over. Not just our homes, but our very lives!
Won’t you apply for that “extreme makeover?”
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.