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Seeds of the Kingdom

Crooked Wallpaper!

by Julie Smith

The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed.
Isaiah 40:4-5, NKJV

Since my husband retired last year he’s been catching up with jobs around the house and garden that he never managed to get round to in the past. One of these was hanging a mirror on our lounge wall where there was a big space for a long time. He carefully measured up and used a spirit level to get the mirror absolutely straight. We had chosen the mirror together and liked it, and after all the effort he made to get it in the right position on the wall and perfectly straight, we were both really pleased … until we noticed that the straight edge of the mirror showed up that the wallpaper was crooked!

We’d never noticed it before, but now it was glaringly obvious! We tried to live with it for a while but eventually my husband decided he just had to make the diagonal lines straight! And he went to all the effort of stripping off and repapering the wall. It turned a relatively small job into a big job involving quite a bit of mess and a lot of work, but I thought what a picture it was, of how our lives can be. Like the wallpaper that we’d never noticed was crooked, we are used to how our lives are. How it is, is how it is. However uncomfortable or difficult it might be – to us it’s normal.

I remember the first time I went to Ellel Grange, many years ago now. It was a Healing Retreat, and I arrived believing I was bad … there was nothing good in me … I deserved punishment. Horrible as it was, I just thought ‘that was me’. It was ‘my truth’. But the people there encouraged me to hold the ‘Holy Spirit level’ of God’s Word, the Bible, up against my strongly held beliefs. His Word, which is truth, told me that when God created mankind (and that included me) He said, ‘It is very good!’ (Genesis 1:31) Like the straight edge of the mirror showing up the crookedness of the wallpaper, the straight line of the truth of God’s Word showed up the lies I had absorbed and out of which I lived my life – at that time in deep depression and hopelessness.

Just as we had a choice to live with the crooked wallpaper or to put in the hard work of changing it, that same choice is put before us when the Truth reveals crookedness in our lives. As uncomfortable, or even painful, as it may be, it’s much easier to passively live with life as it is, with an attitude of, ‘This is how I am. I can’t change it.’ than lifting our gaze from what we cannot do to what He can do when we put our trust in Him.

Replacing the crooked wallpaper took effort. It didn’t happen in a flash or without a mess. And engaging in allowing the Lord to do His work of changing us takes effort too and the messiness inside has to come out. It means coming to our Father in honest confession of those things that have become part of who we are, and yet do not line up with the truth of His Word, and humbly asking Him to do His work of stripping away the false and building in the true. And then trusting that He will do it, and actively working with Him, choosing to demolish the arguments that set themselves up against God’s truth, taking captive the thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5) and receiving His truth.

It goes against our human nature that always wants an easier way. But Jesus encourages us not to look for the easy way. He said, ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’ It’s worth the effort - the rewards are immeasurable – when we begin to see our lives truly being transformed – less of our own crookedness that is so destructive, and more of the straightness of the character of Jesus that not only brings much blessing to us but touches the lives of those around us too.

Prayer: Father God, thank you that you love me just as I am, and yet you love me so much that you want to change me. Please shine the light of your truth in me to expose the lies I have believed. And help me to dare to look at the mess inside and bring it to you, and allow you to do the work of changing me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Julie Smith is married to Roger, and they have two grown up children. Having received deep healing in her own life, primarily through ministry at Ellel Grange and then attending the Modular School at Glyndley Manor, she went on to join the Glyndley associate ministry team. She now works part-time for Ellel Ministries and is an associate teacher with the ministry. She is passionate to see others restored and released into the abundant life Jesus won for us all.


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