My wife was gone for the weekend so I thought I would surprise her by
doing the long overdue task of painting our breakfast room. I was in a store
that specializes in selling odd lots and I noticed some off white semi-gloss
and flat paint for a very reasonable price. I picked up both the flat and
semi-gloss feeling pretty good that I was going to get this job done with a
minimum of time and expense. Arriving home I painted away til midnight.
At dawn with the morning sun shining in upon the walls I realized my
foolishness. It was horrible. It looked like I had smeared mud over
everything. The paint did not cover well. It had no semi-gloss to it. The
off white color did not even come close to matching the existing paint. It
was streaked. The light bulb had not been adequate to reveal where I had
missed. So much for saving time and money.
My lessons learned? Cheap paint is not a bargain and don't try to do
something without adequate light.
It is just like our faith. Sometimes we try to get along cheaply without
investing ourselves. Because salvation is free we think salvation is cheap
and there is little we have to invest. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
While the price for our salvation was indeed paid at the cross and there is
nothing we can contribute toward that price we have to understand that the
character growth we seek does not come without sacrifice and dedicated
effort. When we do shoddy work without the full light of the son of
righteousness we are left with a streaky mess. When Jesus' purity and
righteousness shines on us and our characters are revealed for what they are,
it is only then that we know there is nothing easy about our faith. It requires
the best. We receive the best from Jesus and we need to give Him our best
Paul says it so well in Philippians 3:12-14, "Not that I have already
obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take
hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not
consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting
what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal
to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."