Have you ever taken a Sunday afternoon and gone “Model Home Crashing”? This is where you make a list of all the new neighborhoods around you and you visit the model homes, acting like you could actually afford to live there. You enjoy the hors-d'oeuvres and maybe a glass of champagne as you admire the décor and make mental notes for how you can redecorate your . . . old-er . . . home. And then when the real estate agent asks if you have any questions, you nonchalantly say, “No, I’m just looking.”
Model homes are designed to give the appearance that someone lives there, but they’re simply an empty shell. A house full of furniture but empty of people living there. It looks nice, but there is no life.
Sometimes I wonder if my faith is like a model home. It looks nice, but does it have life and substance? How about your faith?
Following Jesus is about living, not just believing (James 2:19, 26). If a model home doesn’t eventually have a family move into it, the house is in danger of rotting from the inside out. People are needed to maintain the home which deteriorates when left unattended.
Sounds a lot like faith.
Faith ignored is faith in decline. Like an empty house, it becomes moldy and musty. Vacant homes need the windows opened for fresh air to force out the stuffy smell of dormancy. They need deep cleaning, touch-up painting, and possible repairing. A house is meant to be lived in, not just visited.
Of course, a lived-in home can become a messy home. Spills on the carpet, scuffs on the linoleum, scratches on the walls. But those are indications that life is being lived. It’s messy and mucky, and it always needs to be cleaned, but at least there is life. Your home is not a museum with artifacts on display. Your home is a refuge, communication center, and barracks for a family on mission.
Likewise, your faith—if truly lived—will be messy and mucky at times. You will have spills, scuffs and scratches, and you will need constant cleaning and upkeep. But you also have Jesus, the Master Cleaner, who dwells with you, and with His help, your faith is maintained, and your messes are overcome.
Don’t try to keep your faith looking like a model home where you masquerade as though everything is perfect. It’s not. And that’s okay. Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). A house is meant to be lived in, and so is your faith. Your faith requires upkeep, but not for the purpose of keeping up appearances. Maintain your faith for the purpose of it becoming mission central for God’s Spirit to flow through your life. Your home should be a blessing to others, and your faith should, too.
“I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2b).