When the Israelites paraded around Jericho, God demolished the walls of the city (Joshua 6:20). What the text doesn’t mention, however, is the cloud of dust that must have risen into the atmosphere and all the rubble that must have remained on the ground from the walls, not to mention the noise it made when it fell! I think when the Israelites “charged straight in,” there was some up and over to their straight line.

Last fall, I wrote about the walls Satan builds around our hearts—an image the Lord gave me as I prayed for someone I love. I shared a detailed study of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 with you. Paul said we have other-worldly weapons which “have divine power to demolish strongholds,” arguments, and pretensions” (emphasis added).

Since I wrote about demolition, we did a major remodel in our home. We knocked out the center wall to create an open floor plan. Here I was, praying for spiritual/emotional walls to crumble, and God gave me a tangible wall to demolish—one I couldn’t ignore, right in the middle of my house. I would say that’s crazy, but truth is, that’s how God works.

God demolishes walls, or He gives us the power to demolish walls, but what no one wants to tell you is this: demolition is messy.

They hung plastic sheeting. They swept and vacuumed. They opened windows. They apologized occasionally, but nothing changed the piles of dust settling on every surface. (Not just the horizontal ones—we had to wipe down the walls!) It’s been two months since the subcontractors finished their work, and I’m still cleaning up dust in the nooks and crannies of our living room. I haven’t painted the ceiling or the walls yet, and parts of the floor still don’t match the rest.

Demolition is messy.

On the spiritual/emotional side, I’ve seen some big cracks, maybe even a few windows in that big wall around my loved-one’s heart. Praise God! But this demolition is also messy.

3 Lessons Learned from Wall Demolition

  1. Wall-removal is best done by hand.

Bulldozers and wrecking balls are unwieldy. They tear down too much. When you’re trying to remove just one wall, it’s better to use hand-held tools, to work in a certain order, and to take your time.

When you’re tearing down spiritual walls, it’s better to be gentle, to practice patience, and to step back frequently for observation. Don’t expect too much too quickly.

2. Dust settles everywhere.

One evening, when the wall was down to studs, I swept the floor three times. No matter how much effort I exerted, the dust just flew up in the air, then resettled before I could even put the broom away. It was in the curtains, on the walls, in the bathtub! (We weren’t even working in the bathroom!) Dust and dirt went everywhere.

Tearing down a spiritual wall
in one area of your life will
affect every area.

Tearing down a spiritual wall in one area of your life will affect every area of your life. Just like the demolition dust went everywhere, the repercussions of a spiritual demolition project will rise up in unexpected places. If we expect it, we can respond with grace rather than getting frustrated, like I did with the dusty floor that night.

3. Rubble becomes obstacles.

As our subcontractor pulled down pieces of the wall, we had to weave our way through the living room, watching out for nails and other small debris. Even when the wall was gone and the debris removed, a 3”-deep gap remained in the floor where the base of the wall had been—an ankle-twister, for sure.

When we’re tearing down our spiritual walls, we may make major progress only to (figuratively) trip over big pieces of rubble left on the ground. That big issue God helped us overcome? It can still affect us if we don’t pay attention. We need to tread carefully and work on completely removing everything God doesn’t want to remain in our lives.

And that’s one of the ways God used our remodeling project to teach me about Himself and myself. In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Every part of creation and every experience has the potential to point us toward our Lord.

Jesus was the master sacramentalist. He used anything at hand to bring us into an awareness of God and then into a response to God. The moment Jesus picked up something it was clear that it was not alien but belonging, a piece of God’s creation that was a means for meeting God.  -Eugene Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer

I going to paint my ceiling this weekend. Wonder what God wants to teach me now.

Nobody tells you tearing down figurative walls is just as messy as demolishing physical walls. My #demolitionproject is #NotAboutMe via @Carole_Sparks. (click to tweet)

How are you doing on the walls in your life? I hope it helps to know you’re not alone. Want to join the conversation? What have you learned about demolishing the walls Satan has constructed in your life or someone else’s? or What is one everyday experience God used to help you learn something about Him? We always love to hear from you in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Demolition is Messy

  1. Loved the metaphors! There’s so much in our lives that is messy, but I think tearing down those walls that we spend so much time building up can create a terrible mess. I liked best that you reminded us to be gentle. Sometimes I go like a bulldozer and that’s a definite mess! Your message is hopeful–thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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