Friday, October 13, 2017
Psalms 101:2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
When Denise decides it’s time to do some redecorating or painting, I’m the touch-up guy. My main job is to put the paint on the ceiling edges. In painting terms it’s called “cutting in.”
I seem to have a very steady hand for jobs like that, and I generally don’t need to use tape. But it seems uncharacteristic to most people’s perceptions of me. If I were using a roller or a big brush on the middle sections of the wall, I would get careless and sloppy, and paint would spatter and spray. Not so around the edges, where the wall and ceiling meet. Much more care is needed there, because any mistake will be obvious. It seems I really like being that careful. If even a single bristle of the brush touches the white ceiling, it will leave an ugly mark.
I remember the last time I painted and put the final touches on all the edges. In the morning, I inspected what I had done. It was pretty good, but right along the ceiling line there were spots where the new paint was slightly on the ceiling, and the line between wall and ceiling was not perfectly straight. I didn’t like it.
I think my life is a lot like that wall. For the sake of the analogy, let’s assume God is my ceiling. When I’m in the middle of my life, I can get sloppy and careless, and it probably won’t show.
Now be careful; I am not advocating carelessness, but it is the reality of our lives. We have big, open spaces of normal where we tend to get comfortable and careless. We move quickly from one thing to the next, and with just a few extra brush strokes or another pass of the roller we cover any mistakes we made, blending one area into another. Pretty soon our whole life appears to be consistent, except for that edge between wall and ceiling. That edge always shows us who we really are.
When I paint, no matter how careful I am, my color always seems to obscure some of the pure white of the ceiling. In my life, it’s when I’m at the edge of God’s perfection that my imperfections become the most obvious.
It seems to me that there are three responses we can adopt:
1. Stay away from the edges. Live life in the middle of the wall where it’s easy to blend and cover mistakes and sin. Get sloppy. Be careless. No one will know, because with a quick pass of the roller anything can be made to look like it was never there.
2. Put tape over the edges before you get near them with paint. Just cover up God’s color so that your color doesn’t bleed into His. Then, when you’ve lived your life, in your color, right to the edge, you can pull off the tape and look at the beautiful contrast between your life and God’s.
3. Paint your wall the same color as the ceiling.
There really is only one choice, you know. #3. When decorating a house this may not be the preferred way, because we want the attention to be drawn to the walls. We want the color to highlight the decorating choices we have made. We want our walls to represent our preferences and personality.
But when coloring a life, it is not our only goal to not have sloppy edges, but to let the life of God become the focal point. Our lives are to be the house of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit. If we would just paint our walls the same color as the ceiling, we would never have to worry about the edges.
The rooms of our lives can still be decorated with the adornments of our personality and passions, but they must be accentuated by the color of God all over the walls.
When you come to my house, don’t look too closely at the edges – I’m not proud of all of them.
I hope I never have to give you the same warning about my life.