By Leonard Lauriault
It’s warming up outside and, believe it or not, that time of year will soon be upon us again. Things are beginning to grow again and our attention will turn toward those projects we just love, like yard work (M’boy! Lawn mowing! Thank God for teenagers!)
Anyway, if you’ll remember, we mostly had great weather during the Christmas holidays and, having some time on my hands, good weather, and no money with which to escape, I started pondering and actually doing my most dreaded of outdoor tasks – scraping the trim to prepare it for painting (I really love mowing grass compared to that).
I’d painted our home’s exterior about six or seven years ago. My Better Homes and Gardens Guide to Home Repair, Maintenance, and Improvement says that most houses need repainting every five to eight years.
I may be more blessed than others because most of my paint is still in good shape. Before I painted it the first time, it was badly cracked and peeled. My home maintenance guide said moisture trapped in the attic would cause that. So I had installed turbines on the roof and soffit vents around the eaves, which helped.
One corner of the house cracked and peeled again, however, likely because of a roof leak a couple of years ago. This area was an eyesore to me because I saw it coming and going from work Monday through Friday and to and from church twice on Sundays.
After waiting, hoping someone else would do something, I decided, like it or not, it was up to me. This time, I’m taking a former employer’s advice to paint only one side of the house every year or so to keep the task from seeming as burdensome.
As I was working, several things came to mind. First, I’d waited until late in the day to get started, which limited the amount of scraping I could do. Also, I have a neighbor who, whenever I’m working outside, offers to let me do her work as well (Normally, I respond more or less pleasantly offering to let her use my tools).
By the time I’d started, my neighbor had left on errands. So she didn’t know anything about the project. I hadn’t planned on waiting for these more optimum circumstances, but I’m glad it worked out that way.
Second, problems showing up on the outside often begin on the inside, much like trapped attic moisture causing peeled paint. Jesus told the Jewish Pharisees and teachers that it’s what comes out of a person that makes them evil (Matthew 15:17-20).
Problems on our inside often make us an eyesore, not only to others, but to ourselves as well. Later Jesus told them to wash the inside of the cup and the outside also would become clean (Matthew 23:25, 26).
The inside of our dish (body) becomes clean when the uncleanness of our heart is removed (Jeremiah 4:14; Colossians 2:11, 12; 1 Peter 3:21, 22; Acts 22:16).
Once clean, to keep the problem from recurring, we must keep the evil from coming back into our heart (Luke 11:24-26). That’s best done by filling the vacuum caused by removal of sinful activities with righteous activities, like Bible study, positive thinking, and Christian service (Romans 13:13, 14; Ephesians 6:10-18; Philippians 4:4-9; Galatians 5:16-25).
My roof leaked, allowing the insidious moisture to get into my attic again. It took some effort on my part but hopefully that problem is corrected.
Third, once the work of repainting that part of my house is done, to keep the job small and manageable, I need to keep up the plan of doing one side each year or so. Bible study is the same. We aren’t expected to read and understand it all at once. That’d be too burdensome (1 John 5:3).
But we do need to get started and keep at it to effect the transformation God expects (1 Peter 2:2, 3; 2 Peter 3:18; Philippians 2:12, 13; 3:12-16). When we allow God’s expectations for us to be fulfilled, things work out pretty good for us making us glad (1 Timothy 4:8; Jeremiah 4:14). It’s worth the effort. Rather than being an eyesore to ourselves and others, we’ll be a sight for sore eyes.
Finally, personal growth through Bible study isn’t something somebody else can do for us. Everyone can understand God’s word if they want to grow (Ephesians 3:4, 5; James 1:5-8, 21). It’s up to us to take advantage of the opportunities God provides (Ephesians 5:15-17). Otherwise, lack of growth and productivity results in deterioration and destruction (John 15:1-8).