Have you ever regretted not doing the “right thing” the first time? You change course because you think there might be a better way, an easier way, a cheaper way? We bought our current home almost two years ago. We had two rooms (dining room and master bedroom) that had wallpaper across the bottom 3 ft of the rooms with a chair rail and a wallpaper border above that. Before we painted these two rooms we sprayed texture over the wallpaper in the dining room but at the last minute chose not to do so in the bedroom. Instead, I stuccoed over the border and painted the stucco and wallpaper white and painted the rest of the walls a different color. The first color didn’t work so well so I repainted it. Now, more than a year later I am removing the stucco by scraping off the paint and sanding down the stucco in attempt to re-create the image of the room. Our plan? To have the texture guy come back and spray over the old wallpaper so that I can paint the walls (floor to ceiling) yet another color!
This is one of those projects where we might be tempted to ask, “Why didn’t we just do this in the beginning? Why didn’t we stick to our original plan and just do the right thing?” Could the same question be asked of your spiritual journey? Perhaps you heard about Jesus when you were younger – maybe even attended church growing up. But then you got a bit older, began to have some questions (or maybe you were just bored with church?) and had a great idea to try another way – an easier way. This easier way eliminated church, eliminated the Bible, and likely even eliminated Jesus for a “religion” of your own creation. In your own way you repeated what the ancient Israelites did early in their history. “
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 21.25
We would like to think that we can live and worship any way we choose – and to a certain extent that is true – but we are mistaken if we think that it doesn’t matter how we live and worship. God is holy and will not tolerate the worship of other gods. When we finally recognize the truth in that we endure quite a bit of scraping of the painted facade of pride and confidence and the sanding down of the stucco of self-will and arrogance.
Why can’t we see this in the beginning? Why must we – like the ancient Israelites – go through a process of following God, turning from God, and then returning to God? For some of us this process is necessary for us to humbly recognize the joy of following Jesus and serving him. It’s the battle of submitting our will to his. Somehow we just think that we can mold ourselves into a better person than God can so why bother worshiping him at all?
While I’m scraping down stucco I will be thinking about the bumps and high spots in my life that God is smoothing off. Sometimes painful, often stubbornly resistant, I know that the end result in my life (and with my painting project) will be worth it as he re-creates in me the image of his Son. And I will have to admit, it would have been easier to do it right the first time.