Our church building is getting old. For nearly sixty years the building has stood on Departure Bay Road and served several congregations well. But time is taking its toll, and everywhere we turn there is a need for repair, painting or upgrading. The picture this week shows me up in a bucket painting the back wall of the church. That was fun, exciting and terrifying all at the same time!
Just around the corner from this back wall is a section of the roof where the eaves trough rusted out and the wood around it has rotted. It will be a major repair job to fix it correctly. But what if we decided to take a short cut, and just slap a fresh coat of paint onto the rotted boards and call it fixed. Would that be wise? Probably not, and we could only expect more damage in the years to come if we merely painted over the rot.
So why do people try to fix their lives with a surface makeover and never deal with the rot issues, or more precisely, the heart issues? People head to the gym, the yoga studio, the motivational coach, the plastic surgeon, the lawyer or the local charity and try to deal with the ache they feel in their heart. On the outside they want to present a picture of themselves as put together, strong, kind, generous and mature while inside they are dying. Though there is nothing wrong with many of these activities – like there is nothing wrong with painting your walls – but if there is rot, it must be dealt with first.
The Bible calls soul rot “sin,” and it destroys our lives and drives us away from God. It includes our selfishness, our unwillingness to forgive, our mean spirit, our pride, our tendency to judge others, our short temper, and on and on it goes. Many try to be nicer, take on activities to deal with stress and even change their hair colour to show they have changed. But deep inside they are still the same. Our heart can only be changed when we come to Jesus, the great heart specialist, who alone can forgive our sin and give us a restored heart.
1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus deals with the rot in the heart before touching up the exterior. With a new heart we have a chance to really live. I think I will leave the maintenance of my soul to Jesus. How about you?
– Pastor Gary