“…because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, ‘Where is the whitewash you covered it with?’” (Ezekiel 13:10b-12 NIV)
Every Sunday, I dress in my best, go to church to worship God, and teach Sunday School. I read my Bible daily. I can quote scripture for any occasion. I feed and clothe the hungry and homeless. I pray for the hurting and sick. My radio is tuned to a Christian station, and a “Jesus fish” adorns the back bumper of my car so everyone will know I follow Him.
But do I really? Or is that stuff all just bright, shining whitewash? Am I covering a rickety wall without a solid foundation? That’s what God made me ask myself when I read these verses in Ezekiel. And I’m very uncomfortable with the answers He’s showing me. Under that whitewash, I see an ugly, broken-down sinner.
With the help of a very dear and trusted sister in Christ who God put in my path, I’m slowly coming to grips with what I've done. It’s painful. It’s heartbreaking. But it’s necessary if I really want to be who I claim to be: a follower of Christ.
She’s also helping me see what GOD sees: a hurting child suffering from growing pains; a chosen woman who has been set aside for His purposes; a bride clothed in white, washed with the Blood of Christ. In her words:
“You can never ‘out-sin’ God's forgiveness. His love is like the ocean -- waves of healing and forgiveness washing over you as you heal and change and grow into the woman he created you to be.” (Sherry C.)
As hard as it is to admit to myself that I’ve made some really bad choices, it’s even more difficult to confess it to others. And the kicker? Admitting to God how much I have taken advantage of His Grace. But with confession comes healing. With repentance comes forgiveness. With honest prayer from a broken heart comes the Peace that passes all understanding.
“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 RSV)
Have you, maybe, covered yourself with a little whitewash, too? God knows what hides underneath, and He’s waiting for you to come to Him. To confess, to repent, to surrender yourself to Him – inside AND out. Only then can the Holy Spirit fill you and make you into everything God designed you to be. And remember -- you won’t be walking alone; He’ll be there with you every step of the way.
"Lord God Almighty, I am so weak and so easily enticed in my flesh. I cannot produce what is needed for the spiritual walk to which I am called. O Lord, I cry out to You for the indispensable work of Your Spirit within me. Lord, teach me to walk day by day by the grace that Your Spirit alone can provide, Amen." *
*Borrowed from Bob Hoekstra’s, “Day by Day Grace” devotion, http://www.blueletterbible.org/ (God will even help you with the prayer when you can’t find the words to say.)
Fence Photo: Nate Brelsford / sxc.hu
Bride Photo:Rosen Georgiev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net