We have a long window seat in the dining room of our eighty-two year old house, and I’m not sure how many coats of paint have been laid over that seat.
I put down the newest coat a year and a half ago, a fresh satin finish of white paint called snowfall. It looked beautiful, the focal point of the whole room.
Fast forward a year a half.
That same beautiful coat of paint is chipping away, looks unattractive, and is worn out. The main reason for this is my two year old son. He uses this window seat as a runway for his plane, a road for his trucks, and a platform for his Buzz Lightyear and Superman to play. He bangs his toys up and down that window seat every day, sometimes non-stop for twenty minutes.
I used to cringe when he started using the seat for his little fantasy world. My beautiful coat of paint was getting scratched up, chipping off, and looked hideous. I wanted to tell him to stop so I could put on a new fresh coat of paint. But then I realized it was just paint, and paint doesn’t provide that much protection – it simply provides an attractive appearance.
I often wonder, and bet you do too, about what keeps my faith from exploding with the radical changes I so desperately crave. There are certain things that keep pounding me down, wearing me out, and hindering my growth. Just like my son’s toys on that window seat, I have things constantly banging up and down the platform of my life. I could be in real danger if I get fooled into thinking that a coat of paint – a pretty satin finish coat of paint – could protect me from the things of this world.
I could spend the rest of my life repainting the exterior if I actually thought that an attractive outward appearance was important. What an exhausting way to live, right?
The difference between paint and stain is that paint covers a surface and stain penetrates to the core. The same difference is seen between religiosity and the true gospel. The blood-staining power of the gospel penetrates to the core while the paint of religion only serves to cover itself with a façade of counterfeit hope. The paint will chip away but the stain cannot be removed.
Saturate yourself with the stain of the gospel and stay away from adding coat after coat after coat of worthless paint. God’s will for your life doesn’t involve the exhausting task of trying to achieve an attractive appearance. His desire for you is to receive the stain of the gospel. Receive it and live, because you will die trying to achieve it.
Do you have any chipping paint in your house, in your life?