I love a good home renovation or decorating TV show. The creative side in me gets excited in seeing something old become new again: a fresh sanding and paint job, a shiny new light fixture, or splashes of color on fabrics. It satisfies my eyes, and gives me motivation and inspiration for creativity and change.
Fads come and go, new things look old, and old things look new. One can’t tell what is what anymore. Refurbishing furniture isn’t just a hobby for some, but a profit producing job. Trends change so quickly, that really, anything is in style these days. But there is a trend that has been around for a while now, and that trend is “whitewashing”. Again, is it new? Is it old? Does it matter? No one can tell. The look itself is what really matters.
It makes me think of a Spurgeon quote, “Virtues without faith are whitewashed sins”.
Have you ever met anyone that is good? They would give you the shirt off their back? Or be there for you in an emergency? They don’t gossip, lie, steal, or get angry. They work hard, and don’t take handouts. They see the positive in everything, and would never point a finger in blame. They pick up your tab, and go out of their way to go above and beyond in hard times. I know people like this. And I like people like this! We should all strive to be like this.
But a problem with this behavior isn’t what you see on the outside, it’s what you could possibly see on the inside – if you could see the heart of a man.
Whitewashed sins: self-glorifying, self-fulfilling, self-satisfying, self-anything. Pride being met by an outer action. If I do this…then I will look good. If I say this, they will like me. If I give and do, I will look concerned, caring, kind, encouraging, loving. I will be liked, loved, needed, wanted. This will bring me happiness. This will fulfill me, and give me purpose. I need to be liked!! I need to be loved, and wanted.
Sounds just like what an old piece of furniture would say, doesn’t it? “Whitewash me, and I will look good”.
There is no good in us. The so-called good we all do – without faith – is no good at all. It’s all just empty words and actions. Self-glorification in the need to be noticed and possibly talked about in a glorifying way. Pride meets its need. A whitewashed wall that everyone marvels of its trendiness. Yet, a whitewashed wall is only a wall without faith.
Are you a whitewashed wall? Or a piece of old furniture in need of a purpose?
I had a hard time accepting this reality about myself. I am not good. There is no good in me. It is why I sin. It is why I struggle with insecurity and pride. It is why I doubt, why I fear, and why I want approval. It is why I can hold a grudge, and harbor resentment when wronged. But it is only through the Holy Spirit, Jesus within me, that is good. When I do everything and anything for the glory of God, it is only then, through grace, by faith alone, that I am any good at all.
What a much needed reality check! A reality check that is life changing. I don’t want to be a whitewashed wall, or an old refurbished piece of furniture. I want to be brand new! And through Jesus, I am! Through Jesus, YOU are!!
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28
“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18