Does he really think that is going to make a difference?
I pondered this as the salesman demonstrated his company’s new cleaning product on my son’s old sneaker.
The sole was flapping. The rubber was peeling. The laces were frayed. The toes were worn from being used too many times as brakes for his bike. In fact, the whole reason we were at the shoe store was because I was embarrassed when he told me how he had used his sock to wipe up a spill he made at chapel camp-- Through. The. Shoe.
“Did you tell anybody that’s what you were doing?”
“Yeah, that one lady you know!”
The man in the referee-striped shirt continued to spray and scrub and wipe away the grime as I shook my head in dismay over his wasted efforts to make the ragged shoe more presentable.
Oh, but how many times have I made similar attempts?
Give my hair a fancy up-do. Adorn myself with sparkly jewelry. Cover the blemishes and highlight the cheekbones with powder and blush. Don a favorite outfit. Mold my mouth into a smile.
These things may make me look more appealing, successful, or happy-- but they don’t fix real issues. Clothes, make-up, jewelry and a positive attitude may hide my sin from the people I see on the street, but God’s gaze goes straight to the heart of the matter.
He sees the snippy way I provoked my husband.
He sees how I disciplined my kids out of anger instead of love.
He sees the disparaging way I look at myself in the mirror.
He sees when I covet my neighbor's new car, swanky vacation or even her talents.
No matter how well we clean ourselves up, He knows how broken we really are.
He sees it all and loves us anyway!
Friends, my son’s shoe may have been too far gone, but we are never beyond hope.
God has the power to cleanse us from our sins and create newness inside us.
“He who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). No matter how good we may appear to others, we cannot prosper in the eyes of God while sin festers inside us.
Eventually we will be found out by others, just like King David. He was caught in the act of adultery with Bathsheba. When he attempted to clean up His own mess he heaped more sin upon an already messy situation. But the prophet and priest Nathan urged him to stop covering up and go to God to get cleaned up.
So, we must also acknowledge our brokenness and let it lead us to repentance as he did. In unison with David, we can ask God to wash us from our iniquities, purge us of our sin, blot out our transgressions, fill our hidden parts with His wisdom, create in us clean hearts, and renew right spirits within us (Psalm 51).
Because sin begins from the inside, we must start our renewal there. Everything we do flows outward from our hearts (Proverbs 4:3). When our hearts are cleansed, and we are filled with Godly wisdom and His Spirit, we will truly, finally, eternally possess beauty that is incorruptible (2 Peter 3:3).
Don’t be satisfied with a solution that whitewashes the outside. Instead, accept the complete restoration God alone offers us from the inside out.
Word of the Day:
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward-- arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:4
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you so much for seeing all of me and loving me despite what lurks below the surface. I am so grateful for Your Son’s sacrifice that makes my forgiveness possible. For His sake, cleanse me from the inside out so that I may be clothed in His righteousness. Amen.
Follow Liz at her blog at www.creativeinspirationsatmymessydesk.com