Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor
This spring we are painting the exterior of our house.
The front part of our house dates to the 1930s and has typical issues of a structure of that age. A quick look reveals ‘here’s where some termite damage was, here’s where even a lousy modern homebuilder would put at least some insulation in the walls’…that sort of thing.
One of the missions of painting is to cover up some of those flaws. We know we’re not going to make it look like a pristine new home, but we can make it presentable and pretty in an ‘old house that’s not historic and has a bunch of nasty chickens running around’ sort of way.
My wife got an e-mail coupon from Sherwin-Williams offering us a discount on paint since we have been loyal customers and spent roughly a million dollars with them over the past 24 years doing paint projects in the three houses we’ve owned over that time.
The trip to the paint store got me thinking about covering things up and how we do the same thing in our lives.
We cover up our hurts, our bad habits and the hang ups that separate us from God and each other, and for some reason, it seems to be accentuated when we walk through the doors of a church building, especially by those of us who grew up in church. We feel we need to hang a sign around our necks that says “i’m okay” or “don’t ask.”
A large part of painting is prep work—caulking, scraping, power washing, taping around places you don’t want that color of paint, or any paint to go—that’s the part of painting that we all seem to dread. All that tedious stuff won’t be visible like a coat of fresh, different colored paint will, but without it, the new paint is just a waste of time and money.
So, when you come before God, are you going to hope that a fresh coat of paint is enough? Have you said a ‘sinner’s prayer’ and pretty much stayed the same since?
Have you given Him the authority to scrape away the layers of junk that life has built up on your walls, or have you just tried to slap a layer of “Christian” on top of it? Have you done the necessary prep work (dying to your selfish desires, laying aside old habits, quit hanging around the people who drag you down) so you can allow God to complete the good work He began in you? Have you realized that those things are extremely hard to do and that some barriers are impossible to break down on your own and thought about coming to re:generation on Monday nights, where you can meet other people who are admitting their brokenness and walking alongside each other and spurring each other on to a greater relationship with Christ?
At Stonepoint, we want to be a church where people aren’t afraid to talk about their junk, and are willing to admit that a fresh coat of paint isn’t going to help the messes that their lives are in.
Don’t try to hide your flaws, admit them to God and to Christ-following friend who will hold you accountable, and let’s start repairing what’s broken instead of covering it up.