Chip and Joanna Gaines grace the cover of People magazine’s October 23, issue. The husband and wife costars of the home makeover show ‘Fixer Upper’ – the highest rated series in HGTV’s history – explained why they decided to walk away from their hit series after five successful seasons.
I’ve had my suspicions about the Waco, Texas couple since I caught an episode in which Joanna placed several pieces of artwork on a wall. The piece that stood out to me proclaimed: “We walk by faith, not by sight.”
I image that many, if not most, of the 46 million “Fixer Upper” viewers hardly noticed the scripture from II Corinthians, as it was on screen for a mere matter of seconds. But I’m sure that “Easter Egg” didn’t escape the attention of Christ followers who happened to see the episode.
So I read People’s cover story on the Gaines. And it confirmed my suspicion that they are a purpose-driven Christian couple.
They have spent much of the past five years not only filming “Fixer Upper,” which requires 11 months of their time, but also running Magnolia Market, their successful home and lifestyle business that has some 500 employees. That left less time for the couple to devote to their happy marriage and their four young children.
So Chip and Joanna prayerfully decided to wind down their HGTV show, which is unthinkable to those who would sell their souls for the fame and fortune the popular costars of “Fixer Upper” have willingly given up.
But that is what sets Christ followers apart – they walk by faith, not by sight. And so it is with the Gaines. “Regardless of what the future holds,” said Joanna, “we are hopeful for what God has for us and our family in this next season.”
The non-Christian fans of “Fixer Upper” mistakenly think Joanna is referring to the show’s fifth and final season, which begins in November. But Christ followers know she’s referring to the next season in the lives of her and her husband and their children.
Of course, scurrilous rumors have circulated that the couple is stepping away from their top-rated HGTV show because of marital problems. But that’s just a scurrilous attack against Chip and Joanna by those acting under the influence of the evil one.
It is not unlike other attacks the Gaines have faced. Like the hit piece published last November by BuzzFeed, which excoriated the Christian couple for their membership in Waco’s Antioch Community Church, an “evangelical, mission-based megachurch,” whose pastor, Jimmy Seibert, “described the Gainses as ‘dear friends’” and “who takes a hard line against same-sex marriage.”
BuzzFeed’s attack on Chip and Joanna was timed to coincide with the first episode of the fourth season of “Fixer Upper.” Its hit piece asked, rhetorically: “So are the Gainses against same sex marriage?” Its editors were no doubt hoping to force the Christian couple to disavow their pastor and publicly profess support for same sex marriage.
But Chip and Joanna are stand-up Christians who are not ashamed of the gospel. They have not bowed down to “them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
“For me,” said Chip, in an interview last week on Fox News, “(faith) changed everything. It’s part of who I am. I can’t separate the two.”
Joanna shares her husband’s faith life, as she previously professed in a video – The Gathering Testimony – for Baylor University, their Alma Mater.
“I believe God has a purpose for me,” she said. “He also has a purpose for you.” But, she warned, “On the other side of that is the enemy. He knows where to hit.”
So, “Let God speak into your life,” she continued . “Let His Father heart come and say, ‘This is what I have for you.’” And that is the key, she said. “Not believing the lies. Fixing our eyes on Jesus. And walking in that truth.”
Chip and Joanna Gaines are faithful Christ followers. They let their light shine – sometimes subtly, sometimes conspicuously – by promoting the Gospel to the multitude that watch their top-rated show, read their best-selling books or shop their store; that at least some of those viewers, readers and shoppers will be moved to glorify their Father in heaven.