By Kathy Johnston
Last summer I found some old, dirty, cracked pieces of barn-wood that someone had cast off as trash. I brought them home in a box and set them next to my garage. I had plans to dust them off and have my daughter use her calligraphy skills to paint some verses on them and hang them on my wall. I also thought they would be perfect for some signs that we could use at her wedding. I had a purpose in mind for them and I could envision how beautiful they would be.
When I went out to get them a few days later, I discovered them missing and found that my husband had tossed them out back on the wood pile that we use for starting campfires! I couldn’t believe he thought they were trash and didn’t recognize the great purpose they obviously had! In his eyes, all they were good for was starting fires!
I’ve been fascinated with the whole repurpose, recycle, trash-to-treasure kind of thing for a long time. Anyone that knows me very well knows that about me! It’s interesting to me how something that has been cast away as junk, could be seen as a valued treasure by someone else.
This gets me thinking about how I sometimes view myself and how God must view me. And I realize that he’s kind of in the repurposing business himself.
I’ve made some huge messes in my life and have had some seriously broken and wasted places in my soul. But God saw me and knew there was still hope for this broken vessel. So he dug me out of the trash heap, brushed me off, cleaned me up and wrapped me in beautiful garments of righteousness….I’ve been reclaimed, redeemed and repurposed, for His purpose, for His glory! A repurposing of my life…a putting off of that old way of life and putting on my new life in Christ. A new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Ephesians 4:22-24 says it perfectly: “–assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (see also Colossians 3:8-10)
When you look up the meaning of the terms “put off” and “put on”, this concept has even more meaning. Strong’s Concordance describes to “put off”: “to lay down, to wear or carry no more.” To “put on” is “to be clothed, in the sense of sinking into a garment”. Now that is awesome!
It is important to remember that this repurposing of our lives is not a one time occurrence like my little cast off pieces of barnwood! Being spiritually repurposed is a continual process. We are all going to have some slip-ups and back-tracking into our old ways. The good news is that when we do, we have a good, good Father who is ready to take the messes we make and repurpose us again into something that is priceless to him. He does it again and again.
Although it’s taken me awhile, I think I’m starting to get it. Our repurposing is going to continue until that day we stand face to face with the One who has been patiently lifting us out of the trash heap. And we’ll see ourselves then as He has seen us all along: clothed in robes of righteousness, holy, spotless and without blame, our sins forgiven and covered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
The greatest repurposing we could ever imagine! I’m forever grateful.