My mom has always been an incredibly hardworking handy-woman. I remember her taking on many daunting household projects with great fervor and determination when I was a child:
Turning the brown cabinets and trim to white, knocking a hole in the wall to “open up” the feel of the kitchen and living room areas--
but most memorable to me: re-wallpapering the bathrooms.
The home I grew up in was a 1970’s gem, complete with a mirrored wall I hardly remember (I believe she took that out, too), so when my mom set out to update the bathroom walls she had no idea what was in store.
I was at home with the chicken pox when most of it went down. Bits of soggy paper covered the floor as she worked away at layers and layers of once-trendy décor.
After hours and days of spraying, scraping, spraying and scraping-- the walls were clean and ready to be re-covered with a bright and cheery, yellow, floral print.
Lately I realize that my heart is much like those bathroom walls. The more time I spend in God’s Word, I realize that years of growing up in church with only a partial understanding of God’s grace has sealed a metaphorical “wallpaper” of religion to the dry surface of my heart.
Layer upon layer, upon layer.
Just when I think I’ve scraped away every last stubborn bit, I come to a greater understanding of God’s love and grace, leaving me faced with another unsightly layer I must bring down.
When my sin makes me ashamed to go to God;
When I feel unlovable and unworthy because of something I have or have not done;
When I am tired and worn-out from my “good works;”
When I am tempted to think I “have it all together;”
When I realize that some small part of me still believes that it is by some merit or talent or special quality or feat of faith that has earned my salvation.
These are some ugly layers— layers that need to come down so that God can re-paint my soul with the bright, cheery hue of His unending love and extravagant grace.
How do we get them down? We continue to scrape away with the truth of God’s Word.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
I find that the New Testament words of Paul contain the most power to scour away at the stubborn, hidden layers…
“For it is by grace you have been saved, and not by works-- lest any man should boast…” (Eph. 2:8)
“…we rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort…” (Phil 3:3)
Maybe you’re like me, and you grew up in the church, and you are beginning to realize you have layers and layers of “religious” beliefs that hinder the beauty of the Gospel of grace from going up in your life.
We must be diligent to recognize these false beliefs and peel away at the musty, discolored, and outdated paper of religion.
Get in His Word and scrape away with the truth...
And watch Him re-cover the walls of your heart with a love story that is too beautiful for words.
Word of the day:
“With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!” Isaiah 12:3
God, Sometimes I am tempted to think that my good works will earn right-standing with you. Other times I feel like I have messed up too greatly to be forgiven. Help me to recognize these layers of religion on my heart and peel them down with the power of your truth. Help me to put no confidence in my effort, but to fully rest in Christ’s work on my behalf. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Author: Katie Gibson