Sanctification: Impossible?

Lately, I became a fan of this show called Hotel Impossible hosted by Anthony Melchorri. Anthony has over twenty years of hotel management under his belt and has turned around dozens of failing hotels. He now travels all over the world to rescue failing hotels. Anthony and a guest interior designer will transform the failing hotel into a successful ones in about 72-96 hours. Hotel Impossible airs on the Travel channel and its affiliates.

Then there is Restaurant Impossible on Food Network where celebrity chef Robert Irvine travels across the nation to turn failing restaurants into successful ones in just 48 hours and a $10000 budget. 

Similar premise and in fact you have hosts with similar personalities; this is the tough love brand, the in-your-face, confront your problems head-on style. It’s not like Property Brothers, or Fixer-Upper whose hosts are always smiling and joking and generally upbeat. I mentioned that in a previous post: Sanctification and HGTV.

That got me thinking. What else is impossible to fix without the help of an expert? I might not be a business owner, but there are plenty of problems I deal with on a daily basis that seemed impossible to fix. What holes I have dug and need help getting out of? What about my sanctification – the process in which I become more like the character of Jesus – holy, wiser, and good?

Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from Anthony and Robert.

When a business fails, it’s because of leadership.

  1. Sometimes, the owners and general managers really, really try and has the right heart but they simply lacks the training.
  2. Perhaps more glaring is the lack of vision. The owner and general manager simply do not know how to brand the business.
  3. “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” The GMs and owners need to communicate well – everything from the vision of the hotel to the sanitary and customer service standards. When one employee is singled out in a bad review on Tripadvisor or travel websites, ultimately, the GM is to blame for failure to train the employee.
  4. Lastly, the GMs and the owners are just not leading. Either they are too passive and want to be everyone’s friend, or they are tyrants.

So what about sanctification? Sometimes, we think we know what sanctification is; we have our own agenda with God. But the flip is true: God has an agenda too and yes, it’s better than ours. We may try really hard, but we lack the right vision. We may think we are doing just fine, but God has a higher standard for us.

Pastor Max Lucado once told the story of how he went swimming with an Olympic swimming champion. The champion told him to swing two laps in the pool and that he would join Max in the pool. When Max finished two laps, he realized the champion had finished the same time. Max was so pleased, thinking he had tied, until the champion said he had already swam 6 laps in the time Max took to swim 2. Max was challenged to realize what he thought was “good enough” was really only a partial effort.

Sanctification can look impossible, until we get a new vision and a new standard.

The Outsider’s POV

Anthony and Robert were chosen specifically because they were outsiders and more so because they are the experts. Perhaps even more importantly, they are not afraid of being honest. On more than one occasion, they have bluntly told their clients that he or she doesn’t know what they are doing. Even worse, what the client is doing could be dangerous, immoral, or illegal: there were several fire code violations.

Despite all that this “negativity”, in reality, the consultants truly have the person’s best interests at heart. When Anthony and Robert see a failing business and it is clear what the problems are and what the potential solutions are, they really want to help. They are not there to demonstrate their “superiority” but rather that their customer’s ignorance is hurting them. They have stepped into teach them how to stop doing bad business practices and start doing good practices.

It is the same when God comes in. Again, we think we are doing well, but when an outsider with our best interests at heart scrutinizes us, He will see our blind spots. We are ignorant of the spiritual realities. We are so tied to earth we miss heaven. It is up to God to wake us up and give us new truths.

Outside In, Inside Out

In every episode, Anthony and Robert work with designers to revamp the business’s exterior – the building gets power washed, repainted, and gets a new sign. This makes the building more appealing and many a customer get new hope just by seeing their livelihood get new life.

But just as important, Anthony and Robert have to clean the insides. Whether a restaurant’s kitchen failing health inspections or a hotel room that is lackluster, the consultants come in and set things right in the heart of the business. Fixing the outsides won’t help if the core business is broken. I watched as Robert changes the restaurant’s menu, the kitchen and the main dining room – the areas that count. Or the bookkeeping and inventory. I watched as Anthony and his designers revitalize a hotel’s customer service and renovate hotel rooms.

Personally, the most important part of us is not our looks, however much we try. We may think that if we work on the externals, the internals will fall into place. It is the opposite. It is the inner man. Exercise may profit the body for a while, but godliness and character last forever. When was the last time we worked on our character? When was the last time we exercised our faith?


The process of becoming more holy is pretty impossible. Just as the clients might not have been able to afford the changes, we are not able to pay as well. The clients might not have any idea on what to break their downward cycle, and neither do we when it comes to sin.

There are three Bible verses I want to end with:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.

Matthew 22:9

Twice, Jesus criticized the Jews for trusting themselves and their own wisdom. In both times, His Jewish audience were focused on what they can (or cannot) do, or what they know that they forgot who they were talking to. It all comes down to God’s grace.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

We have a choice – whether to focus on our inability to grow spiritually and try to double down on our efforts, or we can have The Expert come and work with us to remodel our soul. Do some renovations, clean out the place, and teach us good practices while stopping old ones.

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