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I was sitting on the couch watching the rain hit the window, and had the random thought, “If we walked away from our house, set up a high speed camera, how long would it take for it to crumble to the ground and disentagrate back into the earth?”  I wondered what events would take place to bring about its slow destruction?

First, I thought that would be sweet to see!
Second, I wondered if those same events applied to our own lives and how we succeed in life as followers of Christ. I think they do, and here are some ideas:

1. Damaging Events
Imagine a window becoming damaged. Over time, the outside elements begin wearing away at the break until a hole appears. It eventually gets larger and larger and the elements infect the integrity of the houses structure. Mold and fungus grows, insects and animals move in. These damaging events in our lives, are things like weaknesses and predispositions to behave or believe certain things – especially things that are untrue. This damage can be done by relationships that affect our lives – sometimes without us even noticing. These behaviors, beliefs and relationships become destructive to our lives, allowing outside influence to rattle the integrity of our lives.

2. Infestation Events
Infestations are those things that slowly eat away at us on the inside. Imagine what an unattended termite infestation would do to your house? These events are like bitterness, unforgiveness, vengeful thoughts, pride, an unrepentant heart. These are the “termites of our lives.” (Maybe a good soap opera title?) They eat away at the structure of our souls, slowly destroying them. If not dealt with quickly, a kingdom of wickedness can fester in us that can eventually play a major factor in the destruction of our lives. And it often takes place below the surface, unseen by others and even ourselves.

3. Catastrophic Events
These events are huge. They are the tornados, hurricanes, and wild fires that threaten to completely wipe us out in one fell swoop. These catastrophic events can’t be planned or stopped, they just happen, and they are big when they do! These events are things like experiencing the death of a loved one or dear friend, losing your job unexpectedly in a career you’ve had your whole life, having a spouse just up and leave without any word. These events have the potential to wipe us out, and sometimes the only thing we can do to save ourselves is to hide in the storm shelter and wait for it to be over so you can begin to rebuild…maybe in a better location? maybe with stronger materials?

4. Time Events
Everything is subject to disentegration (such a cool word!) and decaying over time. Given enough time the structural integrity of this house will become compromised and it will fall apart and decay – even if none of the previously described events takes place. It might take longer, but it would happen. Events (1) and (2) could happen as a result of (4) taking place like a window becoming weak and cracking (this begins a damaging event), but (4) would happen even if they didn’t. Given enough time, the house would fall apart. The simple fact is that we are unable to remain at a constant level of structural integrity without proper maintenance. Be it our intelligence, generosity, emotional stability, faith/trust, relationship with God, our job, our marriage, our health, our finances – you name it, it applies. Given time, these things fall apart without proper maintenance.

Maintenance is simply the process of keeping something in healthy condition.

Maintenance is rarely, if ever, fun and entertaining. I don’t know anyone who gets excited because a pipe has burst in the wall and now they have to shuck out money and time to repair and maintain their home. I don’t know anyone who gets excited about fixing a broken window. But we all do it. Why? Because we know the results that a lack of maintenance will incur. A home in poor, weak, and unsatisfactory condition.

In your life, what events have occurred that require some time to maintain? To bring it to a healthy condition? Are their internal infestations that have taken root in your life? Some unforgiveness that has festered into downright bitterness and hatred? It may even require some money to maintain. If you need to receive professional help because your emotions are not stable, or your marriage requires some counseling – aren’t those things worth maintaining? Even though disciplines like prayer, Bible study and regular church attendance and service aren’t always glorious and wonderful, isn’t it worth maintaining a healthy relationship with God? What you don’t intentionally set out to maintain and improve, will ultimately grow unhealthy, fall apart, and decay. After enough time, you’d never even know it was there.

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