Several years ago, the housing market tanked. Before it did, new neighborhoods were going up everywhere. Commercial real estate was also doing well. Then, suddenly it seemed to stop. There’s evidence of this all over. When you drive through some neighborhoods, you can see just the frame of a house. It had been started, but not finished. There are also slabs of concrete around where buildings were going to be built. Now, they’re just reminders of a poor economy that once was booming.
As I drive through neighborhoods seeing half finished houses, it always makes me sad. I think of the family who had plans to live there. I think of the current residents whose property value is hurt by those ghost houses just sitting there decaying with the weather. It also makes me think of people whose lives are a lot like those houses. They started off strong, but somewhere down the path of life, tragedy hit, and their growth just stopped.
As believers, we aren’t exempt from those tragedies that aim to prevent our growth and completion. There are many Christians who have been hit with something out of the blue, and it simply paralyzed their future plans. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to think, “There’s no future for me so what’s the use in trying.” But those were my words, not God’s. His plan is to complete the work on your life despite what you’ve faced. He still has the blueprints and wants to complete you.
Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished” (NLT). God completes what He started. He will continue to make beauty from ashes. He can take our broken, unfinished lives, and create beautiful masterpieces. There is hope for you. God is not finished working on you. He will be faithful to resume the work and complete what He started in you. Don’t give up yet. You are a work in progress.
I used to love watching “Flip This House”. One of my favorite flippers was Richard Davis. In one of the episodes, he flipped the Charleston Crab House. I’ll never forget that episode because he shared how poor he was when he started out. He couldn’t afford to have an office anywhere nice, so he rented a closet at an upscale office building. He put the address on his business cards to impress potential clients. When a client would ask to meet at his office, he countered with, “Why don’t you meet me at the Charleston Crab House. We can discuss it there. It’s nearby and it’s my treat.”
He revealed in that episode that he couldn’t even afford to buy his own lunch, much less theirs. The restaurant had offered him a tab and when he closed a deal, he would settle up with them. It was years later before he made enough to really move into that office building. It was a real life success story of fake it till you make it. Because he and others have been successful at that approach to life, others have tried it more than they should have. The sad part is that many people also try that approach with Christianity.
It’s better to work at moving into a closer relationship with God than to fake it and pretend you’re closer than you really are. People who are honest about where they are in their walk with God are given a lot more grace than those who choose to hide where they truly are. The fake it till you make it Christian is the reason so many people think the Church is full of hypocrites. They are turning people off to what it means to go through the process of growing a relationship with God.
Proverbs 12:9 says, “Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process” (MSG). I think this applies to our Christian life as well as our work life. It’s better to be an ordinary Christian who is working out their salvation with fear and trembling than to be one who pretends to have it all together and is starving spiritually. In Matthew 7:23, Jesus tells us that on the last day that He will address the fake it till you make it Christian and say, “You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourself important.”
Our lives are much like one of the flipped houses on the TV show. They are constantly under construction and have areas for improvement. There are things we’d like God to change in our lives, but we aren’t willing to pay the price to get it. When we do that, we become a work in progress that won’t fulfill the potential God sees in us. The superficial, fake it till you make it life will crumble the moment hard times come. But those who take their time, pay the cost of discipleship, and invest quality time with God will be accepted by God and their lives will point others to the cross and salvation through Jesus.