We should make plans—counting on God to direct us. Proverbs 16:9 (TLB)

Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s hit show, Fixer Upper, help families see the potential in old houses by transforming their dreams into reality. They have a unique ability to see beyond all the problems with the existing structure and picture the possibilities of what it could be with the right plan. It’s gained such popularity that people are moving to Waco, Texas to get their own fixer upper!

What if we put as much time and energy into a relationship blueprint as we do the plans we draw for the house we want? It doesn’t matter whether you’re building a new house or renovating a fixer upper, the truth is, all relationships require constant remodeling. That’s because every relationship is a fixer upper. So, what does your relational blueprint look like?  The Bible offers four practical tips for making relational plans, counting on God to direct us.

  1. Gain a new vision

Instead of focusing on all the problems, faults, and failures in a relationship, ask God to give you a new vision of what it can be with His help. That’s what faith is all about. The writer of Hebrews said, 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Faith is seeing what the future can be and believing that nothing is impossible with God. Before trying to remodel your mate, ask God to remodel your heart and mind. Think of ways to raise the value of your relationship with new vision.

  1. Draw a new plan

When you ask God for a new vision you need to write it down. Before remodeling a fixer upper, Chip and Joanna always show the couple a computer rendering of what the plan will look like when it’s done. A relational blueprint of God’s design creates expectancy and builds hope for the work ahead. It gives purpose and functionality. God has a plan for your relationships. He’s the ultimate fixer upper. No marriage is beyond His ability to restore if each partner will cooperate with Him. Years ago, Chris and I wrote down what we call our love at last sight vision statement.

“We are deeply committed and intentional about creating a marriage that is fresh and new every day. We feel completely connected to each other by listening and learning how to meet each other’s needs so that, the last time we see each other on this earth, we’ll be more in love than ever before.” 

  1. Begin new actions

One of the most common misconceptions in relationships is that love is a feeling and, when the feeling dies, so does the love. The truth is that love is an action that produces strong feelings. The Bible describes love like this:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…. 1 Cor. 13:4-8a (NIV)

The quickest way to restore those loving feelings is to be intentional with loving actions. Take one or two action steps today based on 1 Corinthians 13 to demonstrate your love, and those loving feelings will return.

  1. Seek a new power

The best news of all is that we’re not alone in trying to remodel our relationships. Every Christ follower has the same power available to them that raised Jesus from the dead! God specializes in resurrections! He can resurrect your marriage! He can make the house you have the home you want! Ephesians 3:20 promises, 

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us….  

Let Him do the work through you. He’s the master architect and the ultimate fixer upper!

  1. Every action and feeling begins with a choice. All of life is merely a series of choices. Then more choices in responses to those choices, which institutes action and reaction. People always ask, “What is the meaning of life?” Well, let’s see…”So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

    So we were not accidents that just materialized out of nothingness. The God of the universe spoke us into being with specific intent. That deliberate action was a choice. There was thought behind God’s choice. There was purpose, and meaning, and truth behind God’s choice. His choice was life, and by that action and choice, man came to be. But man made an opposing choice: death. Or separation. Both sinned against God and ate of the forbidden fruit that God had commanded Adam and Eve not to partake of. And yet, what was it about that fruit that so enticed them? Was not God sufficient? Had not God provided more than enough to satisfy any need they might have within the Garden? God gave them rule over the whole world and ever living, crawling, swimming, flying creature that exists. But something was missing–they thought. But this thought did not come from nowhere. The thought that later resulted in the worst choice man has ever made came as a seed planted by the deceiver, the destroyer, the Devil. He whispered in their ear that God was not who he claimed to be. That God was not enough. That there was more that God was keeping from them. Did they want to know the secrets to life and death? Did they want to know everything… The Devil persuaded them into a lie and they acted on that lie based on their emotions and feelings. The first sin to take place on Earth was as a result of a bad choice and irrational feelings.

    But weren’t they made in God’s image? How could they make such a terrible choice? It’s simple–the Devil lies to us every day. He tells us we are nothing, that we are failures, that God does not love us, that no one could love us. You should hate yourself! And because no one can love you, you should hate the world.

    But let’s take it a step back and analyze what God’s image truly looks like. To understand what “image” we took, we must examine who God is; what God is.

    “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” – Numbers 23:19

    But I thought God made us in his own image? How can we be in his image if he is not man? That’s because God is not a materialistic object or thing. He is more than animate substances; He is a presence, a source; THE existence. If God said he made man in his own image and yet claims not to be man, then our idea of image must be flawed.

    “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” – 1 John 4:16
    So if God is love and he made us in his own image, does that mean we also are love? Yes. We have the ability to love and show love because God is love and he made us in his image. All the attributes of God we possess, but our sinful natures resists this original design and instead rebels and strays. This also means that the image God made us in is not a physical image, but a spiritual and metaphysical one. That means our lives are more than breath and bone. Our journey and toil on Earth is not for nothing. We are here for a reason because God created us with souls. The breath of God that He breathed into Adam was that very same love: action, commitment, a choice.

    We can follow God’s example by choosing to be that love we were called to be. We can act how God originally created us to behave. The only problem is: sin. Sin keeps us from God, but God remedied that problem as well by sending His son Jesus to die for our sins and if we repent of our ways, and turn to God and believe that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. And at that point, the image of God that we lost because of sin, we gain back.

    Everything is a choice. God chose to make you and designed you into the unique person that you are. There is no one else like you nor will there ever be. God made it that way for a reason. You are no accident. And your physical body or characteristics is not what defines you or associates you with the All Powerful God: it’s your soul and your spirit, and your ability to act like God.

    Make the choice.

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