January brings a fresh start. The new year is a clean slate on which to write the rest of our story. No matter how often we have tried and failed, every January represents a second chance to get right whatever is wrong. The past is behind us, the future has not yet come, and hope stands in the gap between them, filled with the possibilities of the present. On the precipice, we can either remain standing comfortably still in the status quo or dive deep into the time and labor intensive work of positive change.
If we choose change, we must first make room for the new by tearing down the old. Just ask Chip.
Chip and Joanna Gaines are a married couple with four children and the stars of HGTV’s wildly popular home improvement show, “Fixer Upper.” They own a construction and design business in Waco, Texas, where they renovate old, run-down houses, turning them into warm and stunningly beautiful homes.
Chip is the heart of the show, with his boyish charm and funny, quirky antics that endear him to his wife, Jo, and all the rest of us. Chip’s favorite part of flipping houses is the demolition process, when he uses a sledge hammer or crow bar and smashes walls, rips down cabinets and tears out old flooring in preparation for building and reconstruction. Every house Chip and Joanna remodel into a lovely new home begins with what Chip excitedly calls “Demo Day,” when he expectantly wields a hammer and sports his trademark t-shirt emblazoned “#DEMODAY.”
Today, my friend, is our Demo Day. It is time to identify and mark for removal unhealthy and unproductive habits, attitudes or patterns of relating, and to demolish those rooms in our lives that have kept us captive for far too long. The job is too big to do on our own. Chip certainly doesn’t tackle Demo Day alone, and neither should we. We need help knocking down the walls that stand between us and God’s highest and best.
First, we ask the Lord to give us the motivation, strength and desire to tear down what is rotten within so that he can transform us from broken to beautiful. Don’t resist his efforts to rip out what needs to go, to make room for what needs to stay and be built upon. It may hurt for a moment, but like pulling a bad tooth, it won’t harm and will benefit us.
God needs us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice,” so that there is room to make us kind, compassionate and forgiving toward each other, just as he is to us. Ephesians 4:31-32. God wants us to demolish those things in our life that have taken his place of honor. He will not build on the unstable ground of our self-interest and sin. But he will join our Demo Day crew and help us remove our crumbling foundations and replace them with the solid footings of Jesus’ truth and grace.
Jesus said that if we hear his words and put them into practice, then we are like a wise man who built his house on the rock. When adversity comes, our house will not fall because we have built on a sure foundation. But Jesus said that if, instead, we only hear his words and do not obey them, then we are like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. When the storms of life come, we will fall with a great crash because our house — our life — was built on shifting sand, something other than Christ’s teaching. Matthew 7:24-27.
Moving forward with the strength God provides, we next ask our family and friends to help us dismantle our bad habits by holding us accountable for positive change, calling us out when we allow room for unhealthy and negative patterns to continue. We give our loved ones a hammer of truth and permission to use it to rip down those strongholds that we may neglect to remove or refuse to see.
As we clear away the old, we begin to replace it with new, healthy choices day by day, moment by moment. No more business as usual. Ever so slowly, as we do our part and God does his, we begin to see our beautiful transformation as we increasingly reflect the image of God. Our lives begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit and it is then that we know, the best is yet to come.
Absent Christ’s return before then, tomorrow is coming. Summer is coming. Next year is coming. Who do you want to be when it gets here? What is your plan for getting there? No matter what month it is, every day is January, the opportunity for a new beginning. And it all starts with Demo Day.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!” 1 Corinthians 5:17.