Sunday, June 28, 2009

How Well Do You Paint?
Have you ever done any painting? If you have, you know that if you do a half-hearted job the paint will not last. I want to give you a picture of how I related painting to my foundation while on the Dominican Republic Mission Trip.
Luke 6: 48-49 says:" He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
The school building that we were painting is made of concrete walls. They are very close to the ocean and have had hurricanes come in and wash through that village. The scripture says the flood arose and beat against that house. If you look closely at the concrete walls you see holes and cracks that happen over time due to age and weather. It can also be due to not being kept up or maintained properly. What about our foundations, are they being maintained by staying the Word, praying, seeking fellowship with other Christians? If we neglect these things, then cracks and holes can start to appear. They may be small at first but over time, they can become large.
Several of us were painting outside the school building and I was standing with Lauren Jackson. She had a paintbrush and she was taking her brush and literally sticking it in the holes and cracks. As we were talking she said, “I am going to fill up these holes.” As she filled up the holes with paint, she would then put a layer of paint on top to smooth it out. As I have reflected upon what I observed, I thought about our foundations. How do we fill them up? Do we just put a top layer on for a temporary fix or do we really get determined to fill in every crack first. It is just so easy to do the “quick fix” and just paint over the undesirable area so on the surface it would appear everything is fine. Over time though the “quick fix” is not enough because if your foundation it not strong enough to weather the storms that come your way, you will be shaken. The Word says the house fell.
Well, you might ask, what could some of these flaws or cracks be? In Romans 1:29-32 it says, “being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; [they are] whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." Galatians 5:19-21 says:" Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Look what God says about the righteous judgment of God. He said we are deserving of death and we will not inherit the kingdom of God. If we allow our heart to get so hardened that we not only practice sin but also take pleasure in it, then we are living in the flesh and not being led by the Spirit. We will be judged. We will not inherit the kingdom of God. Hell is real. It is eternal, never ceasing. It is a fire that will never be quenched.
Galatians 5:24 says:" But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. And those [who are] Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
As I watched Lauren fill up the holes and cracks, I was thinking if we see something in our life that does not line up with the Word of God, then we need to take our paintbrush and fill it with the righteousness of God. Lauren was not just dabbing a little paint in the crack, she was taking that brush, coating it with a lot of paint, and then pressing the brush into the affected area making sure it was filled up completely. If there are areas in your life that need to be filled in, take it very serious. Do not just brush over it, get to the root. This takes effort. You have to press in, seek God with all your heart. God is serious, He hates sin. Fill in the cracks with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. After you fill them in, coat it with prayer, reading the Word of God, having fellowship with other Christians.
This is how we grow. If we are not actively seeking God with all of our heart, we will start to have signs of neglect and over time, the cracks will appear. Do not allow yourself to get to that point. Allow God to minister healing to you.