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Over the past week, we have been staining our deck. Now I generally like painting. There is something about it that occupies enough of my attention that I can let go of worries and cares for a few minutes. But staining the deck has been a little different. Perhaps the heat over the last week has zapped some of my enthusiasm, but it seems like every time I get a chance to work on it, I see a place we missed! And then, just when I think we’re done I stand back and see how uneven it looks and realize it needs some touch up here and there. As I was looking at it this morning I realized it is a good picture of our Christian lives.
Like that deck stain, our faith should cover us and protect us. It should give us comfort and help us to let go of our worries. But the truth is that our faith can look sort of blotchy at times. There are spots in our lives that we haven’t fully surrendered to God, and the bare wood of our sinful hearts is showing through. We want the approval of friends at work or school, so we compromise on purity or integrity.
Time and troubles wear away the finish and our faith grows thin. We enjoy the bright sunshine, but with the sun comes the heat. The heat responsibility for your family and paying the monthly bills. The heat of friction that just comes from living together with other sinful people at home or church or at work. And the rain will fall on our lives just as it falls on that deck. Troubles come and rock our world. We end up in the emergency room overnight, or at a funeral home, or facing a month with more bills than money. And, in the heat and the wind and the rain, our faith grows thin.
And so, in a sense, we need a fresh coat of faith. Paul said, “Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16 NIV) God is in the renewal business. Open His word, and let it renew your spirit. Talk to Him in prayer, and let Him refresh your faith. Fellowship with other believers at Church and bear one another’s burdens.
Once we finish the deck it’ll probably be good for a few years. But my spiritual life? It needs a fresh coat every day. Today, let the Lord renew and refresh your heart and soul.