In the town where I grew up, there was a place that would paint your car for $99. For no extra charge, they would also paint whatever dirt, bugs and randomly growing shrubbery happened to be on your car. And, they would do it all in a day. So you could drive your rusty old Buick into this fine establishment one morning and at the end of the day, you’d be driving home in what appeared to be a car that had gotten White Out spilled all over it.
That place eventually went under. But the business model still exists in the hearts of many believers. Just slap on some paint and get things looking nice. Whether things actually are nice is irrelevant.
David had a different approach to his sin.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 51:6 (ESV)
David realized that there was no amount of religious paint that could appease his Lord. God has never been interested in the appearance of his people as much as he has the actual condition of their heart.
He delights in truth, not broadcast on our shirts or car bumpers but in our hearts.
He puts his wisdom, not on our faces but in our hearts.
Like David, we can all say that we were, “brought forth in iniquity.” We have a sin problem. And the remedy to that sin problem isn’t a spiritual makeover.
A few years ago, there were shows on television where Hollywood designers would take regular looking people with self-esteem issues and give them a makeover. The results were terrific! Well, at least during the big reveal at the end of the show. They weren’t so terrific later on when everything went back to normal. At some point, the make-up has to rinse down the sink and the evening gown has to go back in the closet. So in the end, the regular folks on the show were left with the same old issues with only a few extra style tips to show for it.
The Christian life isn’t a beauty contest. It’s not a car show. It’s a marathon.
Have you ever seen the people who do really well at marathons? Elite Olympic athletes who finish a marathon in just over two hours look terrible when they’re finishing. They look like they’re going to die if someone doesn’t get them a hamburger and quick.
But they’ve reached the finish line.
They have completed their task.
And, for the most part, in spite of how they look on the outside, on the inside they’re healthy.
Grace isn’t a paint job.
Grace isn’t a makeover.
Grace is the tired runner who reaches the welcoming arms of his forgiving Father at the finish line and knows that that same forgiving Father was with him all along the way.
Don’t trade that in for a cheap paint job.