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The New Aussie Idol: Home Renovation

Like many Australians, my weekend will often include a trip to Bunnings. We pile into the car and head off to look at a new toilet, grab some more paint, or now that it is Spring, we pick-up a few plants to flesh out the garden. Clearly, we are not alone in this. Most Saturdays and Sundays, Bunnings and Ikea are teaming with other renovating and decorating enthusiasts. As I started adding up the money we have spent over the past 18 months on our renovation projects however, I started to question this whole pursuit. Why are we doing this? What is this fever that keeps us watching renovation shows and sends us scrolling through websites by the hour? Is home renovation a sin?

What is this fever that keeps us watching renovation shows and sends us scrolling through websites by the hour? Is home renovation a sin?

Creative Expression and Enjoying Beauty Is God-given

One thing we can be sure of is that wanting beautiful things isn’t wrong by itself. We only have to look at the Bible’s creation accounts—or creation itself—to see that God delights in beauty. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” In Genesis 2, the garden prepared for Adam and Eve is described as a place of beauty and comfort:

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8-9).

Humanity’s first home was breathtaking! It contained every tree that was pleasant to the sight and good for food. God blessed the people he had created with a beautiful home and then put the man into the garden to tend to it. God gave the man and woman the job of overseeing his beautiful creation, so this desire to create a beautiful place to live is actually a God-given characteristic.

Questions for the Heart

But this good beginning does not guarantee that our modern desires to renovate are pure. Post-fall, all our desires are corrupted and unreliable (c.f. Jer 17:9). Home renovation, like most things comes down to a matter of heart and motivation. It requires us to ask hard questions of ourselves …

When we are renovating, building, or spending money on our homes, are we viewing these things as a resource given by him for his glory and His Kingdom? Or are we wanting the latest on-trend wall colour so that people will come to our homes and glorify us?

Are the furniture and finishes we select going to help us offer hospitality or will they cause heart palpitations every time a young child enters our home with muddy shoes?

Are the furniture and finishes we select going to help us offer hospitality or will they cause heart palpitations every time a young child enters our home with muddy shoes?

As I flick through renovation posts, I feel the lure of materialism. As I read innocent-sounding questions about where others found certain decoration items, or what colour paint someone used, I sense a temptation rising to envy and covet and compare.

Where is my heart? As a disciple of Jesus, my focus needs to be eternal. I know my identity is not in my earthly home, it’s in Christ. When people enter my homes, I want them to have a taste of the reality Jesus makes in my life. I want them to feel welcome—cared for—and to have a glimpse of the beauty of life lived through grace. If I’m consumed by the quest for a perfectly styled house, or the latest kitchen design, I’m making my home a temple to a false god. I’m missing out on the opportunity to point others to the ultimate designer.

These are the reminders I need to keep applying to myself. May all of us, next time we find ourselves pondering an addition to our homes, pause to consider our motivations and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate our heart condition.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
(Matthew 6:19-21).


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