When we talk about makeovers, we’re usually focusing on externals: a new hairdo, new makeup, or maybe a new kitchen or paint job for our house. What would happen if Christians took time for a spiritual “inside” makeover?
As we prepare to face a new year, maybe this is the time to consider a spiritual makeover. The following steps can help make it happen.
Take a spiritual inventory of your relationship with Christ.
A spiritual inventory reveals your spiritual condition. Such honest grappling with your spiritual state includes addressing sin, character flaws, relationships, spiritual disciplines, thought processes, personal evangelism, and service.
We can follow the challenge of 2 Corinthians 13 to “examine yourselves” (v. 5). Where have we grown? Where are we lacking? How are we influencing others?
Using the Renovation Awareness Quotient (page 40) will provide a glimpse of your spiritual condition. To validate your assessment, ask a godly person who knows you well and will be honest with you to take the assessment with you in mind. Compare the two and average scores. This becomes the baseline for starting your spiritual makeover.
Treat any spiritual rot that’s causing harm to your relationship.
In Rut, Rot or Revival, famed preacher A. W. Tozer says people in religious ruts “are getting older but not getting any holier.”
To avoid getting older without getting holier, one must rid his life of spiritual rot. From the Renovation Awareness Quotient assessment, what sin or sins are infecting your life? What relationships have gone toxic? What thoughts contaminate your mind? What character flaw rears its head at inopportune moments? Confess these. Ask for forgiveness.
Spiritual rot can manifest itself as a dry rot. What spiritual discipline has become commonplace, routine, or without fervor? Dry rot has arrived. Repent and ask God for renewed interest, energy, and excitement for the things of God.
When was the last time you shared your faith with someone? If you don’t remember when, your witness has decayed. Seek forgiveness and ask God to send people your way to voice a witness.
Proactively tackle the spiritual disciplines.
Raise the amount of time, interest, and evaluation you give to each.
Steve Blankenship shares this story:
One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas.
Often, Christians neglect their spiritual maintenance, and though they are “clothed with power” (Luke 24:49) find themselves out of gas.1
Time alone with God keeps our tank full. How much time do you spend with God, his Word, and in prayer? How effective is your present quiet time? Do you leave renewed, energized, and ready for the day? Does the time with God result in your becoming more like Christ? Is one new biblical truth learned, affirmed, or applied? Change what you do, the materials you use, or the way you approach God if specific growth is not occurring.
Turn the corner with any relationships gone sour.
Forgiveness and restoration with people is closely tied to fellowship with our Creator. The apostle tells us, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar” (1 John 4:20).
Unresolved conflicts, even those now far removed by distance and time, can inflict damage to our relationship with God. That’s why Jesus said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23, 24). Jesus said, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over” (Matthew 18:15).
These verses both center on resolving conflicts and winning our brothers over. God smiles when we make relationships right. Right relationships with man equal a right relationship with God.
Train your mind to think rightly.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Ken’s mother was preparing a salad for the evening meal when Ken asked permission to go with friends to a movie filled with sex and profanity. Ken’s mom didn’t respond; instead, she opened the kitchen garbage can and began to throw small bits of trash into the family’s dinner salad.
Ken protested, “Mom, what are you doing? You’re putting trash in the salad.”
His mom replied, “I thought you wouldn’t mind a little trash with your meal; it’s just a small amount.” Ken got the point and decided not to go to the movie.
None of us wants to mix food and garbage for a meal. We don’t want to eat something unclean. Sometimes, we forget God has commanded us to live holy and pure lives.2
I remember my youth minister telling us, “Your minds are like computers; the information you put in is recorded forever on your mind’s hard drive.” This Scripture echoes that sentiment: “For as he thinks within himself, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, New American Standard Bible).
I did not realize the seriousness of putting ungodly things in my mind until I went to a movie theater in New York and saw a film that haunted my prayer life for years to come. Out of nowhere, images would flash in the middle of my prayer, images that zapped my sense of spiritual well-being.
Win this battle. Commit to downloading positive, encouraging, and wholesome thoughts in your mind. Make Scripture memory a priority.
Tame any pride issues.
This makeover process can itself create pride problems. Confess the sin and view your place in proper perspective in light of God’s greatness.
A proud spirit can usually be traced to someone spending little time examining God’s Word. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Pride is a sin God hates.
The more you look in God’s Word, the more God’s holiness is revealed. In turn, the more you examine God’s Word, the more you see your sinfulness. It cuts to the heart of pride. Confess your pride. Surround yourself with people who will keep pride issues in check as they arise.
A spiritual makeover is possible with due diligence in taking spiritual inventory, addressing spiritual decay, recommitting to the spiritual disciplines, restoring soured relationships, thinking rightly, and taming our pride. After undergoing such a makeover, the new person in Christ will move forward in Christ’s likeness.
1Steve Blankenship, quoted in God Came Near, by Max Lucado (Colorado Springs: Multnomah Press, 1987), 95.
2Ed Wood, “Taking Out the Trash,” accessed at www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/taking-out-the-trash-ed-wood-sermon-on-holiness-55096.asp.
Danny Von Kanel is a freelance writer and church/school musician living in Franklinton, Louisiana. His latest book, Building Your Life by the Owner’s Design, will be released in 2013.
The Ultimate Makeover: Becoming Spiritually Beautiful in Christ, by Sharon Jaynes (Moody Publishers, 2003)
Faith Begins at Home: The Family Makeover with Christ at the Center, by Mark Holmen (Regal, 2007)
How to Reach Your Full Potential for God: Never Settle for Less than His Best, by Charles Stanley (Thomas Nelson, 2009)
Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, by Henry and Richard Blackaby, and Claude King (B & H Publishing Group, 2008)
Let God Change Your Life: How to Know and Follow Jesus, by Greg Laurie (David C. Cook, 2011)