Guest Blogger: Bryan Johnson - Youth Pastor, Social Circle United Methodist Church
Pastor Bryan Johnson has served as the Youth Pastor of Social Circle United Methodist Church for 6 years. He and his wife Anna have been married for 5 years and they have 2 beautiful dogs - Georgia and Caroline. Bryan is a 2007 graduate of Emmanuel College School of Christian ministry program and is currently in the M.Div course at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Bryan is an avid Georgia Bulldogs fan and loves playing guitar to some of his favorite Dave Matthews Band songs or John Mayer songs. Bryan has had tons of practical experience in various leadership roles and has a heart to mentor the next generation of pastors and leaders for the Body of Christ.
Maintenance vs. Renovation
I hate the word “maintenance.” Maintenance implies that something is broken and it needs to be “maintained.” Maintained does not mean “fixed.” To fix something means to solve the problem. To maintain something means to rig up a temporary solution that hides or ignores the problem. Like I said, I hate the word “maintenance.” It is a stupid word.
Most of us look at our lives and try to perform maintenance on our problems. We apply a temporary “fix” to a deep and complicated problem. Then we wonder why we keep failing again and again and again…We fail because we keep performing maintenance on a problem that requires a complete renovation. We need brand new parts. Slapping paint on rotten wood does not fix the problem. Pretty rotten wood is still rotten wood.
Renovation does not start with the outside and work its way inward. You do not paint the rotten wood and then remove it. First, you replace the rotten wood with new wood. Then the painting begins. The same is true for spiritual formation. We cannot change who we are by “doing” more things. I have discovered that if I want to pray more, than I can do one of two things: I can either force myself to spend time praying (which will not last), or I can let God transform my heart and give me the desire and passion to want to pray. Forcing ourselves to do something that our heart is not prepared to do will never last.
Here is a spiritual truth that we all need to understand: God changes the internal to produce changes in the external. True spiritual formation starts in the heart and works its way outward. It says in 1 Samuel 16:7—“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” God would rather change our hearts than us change our actions. He knows that a transformed heart is the only thing that will produce true and lasting fruit. (I highly recommend reading Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard).
So stay away from maintenance and seek renovation. Don’t settle for maintenance on your heart when God is willing to give you a new one.