During a recent visit to the Ellel centre in the Netherlands, Jack, who undertakes the majority of the building maintenance there, took my husband and me on a tour of the house to show us some of the restoration work he has been undertaking. His paintwork is really impressive: the gloss paint is so smooth and shines so much that you can almost see your reflection in it! Roger asked him how many coats of paint he applies, and he replied, “Five!” Then, as he stroked the paintwork with obvious care, he began to explain.
He said he couldn’t bring himself to do a ‘patch up job’, and whenever he’s renovating a room at the Baak Centre, when he gets to the woodwork he first rubs it down, then examines it for any hidden damage and cuts out the rotten wood, carefully replaces what he’s removed, then on goes not one, but three layers of primer, the undercoat and then the topcoat, then another topcoat and another and another, until he’s applied five!
One of the lady team members smiled and said, “Oh yes, it’s no use asking Jack to give something a quick lick of paint! He won’t do it!” Jack shared with us that the Lord has shown him that what he does in restoring the building, is exactly what the Lord, Himself, is doing inside the building in the lives of those who come for help.
Our Father God doesn’t paper over the cracks in our lives, but wants to get to the real damage that’s often crept in insidiously, like the damp in the woodwork that’s come up through the foundations, or the woodworm of attitudes, thoughts and beliefs we’ve developed over a lifetime that are actually spoiling us from the inside. Sometimes we’ve applied lots of ‘quick licks of paint’ – a concerted effort to try harder here, a determination to say the right thing there, and on top of that the sharp intake of deep breath and fresh resolve not to let God down on that.
The problem is that it’s not long after each thin layer of the paint of our self-effort that the damage begins to bubble through to the surface again, affecting our relationships, our quality of life and our spiritual, emotional and even our physical well-being. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way that quick licks of paint don’t work!
Praise God that He is the Master Craftsman of our lives (Ephesians 2:10)and graciously waits for us to invite Him to ‘search us’ (Psalm 139:23-24), and when we do He begins a work of true restoration … not from the outside in, but exposing the hidden damage, cleansing us and healing us from the inside out. And then He seals in the work He has so lovingly accomplished with His Holy Spirit, and as we enter into living that restored life, that’s only possible because of the price Jesus paid for us (Isaiah 53:5), we have the privilege of beginning to shine, reflecting to others something of the glory of our Creator God (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Prayer: Father God, I’m sorry for the times I’ve applied a lick of the paint of self-effort to my life, when Jesus has paid the ultimate price for my full restoration. I’m sorry that I’ve looked for my own quick fixes. Please help me to take courage and allow You to expose those hidden areas where I need Your cleansing and Your healing, to humbly and honestly face and own those things, and allow You restore my life, and bring Your full redemption so that I might give glory back to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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