“He seemed like such a nice boy.” How many times have we seen the neighbors of a convicted criminal interviewed on TV, shaking their heads in disbelief that an outwardly nice person could hide such evil intentions? Outer appearance can deceive, but the heart reveals itself eventually.
God provides a master guidebook to redesigning our spirits: the Bible. He directs us to tie his Word on our hands as we would tie a cord around a curtain, to bind his commandments to our foreheads as solidly as we would hang a valuable painting, to write his promises on our hearts as carefully as we would follow a blueprint. This is the ultimate form of home improvement.
Redesign must begin with our hearts. That is why God commanded the Israelites to pass on his holy commands, decrees and laws to their children and to allow them to permeate their lives and thought processes. Even today, Jewish families often fasten a small box called a mezuzah, containing Scriptures from Deuteronomy 6:4–9 11:13–21, to the doorposts of their homes to remind them that because “the LORD is one” they should “faithfully obey the commands . . . to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Only God’s Word can do the work of improving the lives of his people, generation to generation.
In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees wore phylacteries, literally fastening Scripture to their foreheads. Some of the Pharisees wore their phylacteries pridefully to display how “religious” they were. Unfortunately, many failed to live out what the Scriptures inside their phylacteries said. Christ called them hypocrites. You may succeed in fooling the neighbors, but God is not deceived. He doesn’t want his principles displayed outwardly if they don’t impact us inwardly. When ingrained on our inmost being, his principles will change the way we think, act and live.
Would your neighbors be shocked to see inside your locked rooms? Would your own family? Perhaps you spend so much time on decorating your exterior that you’ve neglected what Teresa of Avila called your “interior castle,” the cloistered rooms of your soul? Take the time to memorize Scripture, meditate on it and tell the children in your life about God. That kind of home improvement is eternal
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.