Called to Worship – Issue #12
by Phil Mershon
We’re moving into a new house this week. We’ve recently painted every wall and ceiling in the house—even the basement floor. Today I will add the last coat to the basement and we’ll be ready to move in.
After many hours of painting, I realize most of us treat worship like a paint job when we’ve been given a new house.
Every Sunday we paint on our Sunday face. Underneath our walls are cracking and peeling—often crumbling—but with a good paint job we can hide all those blemishes. Add a couple layers and we look as good as new.
But we’ve forgotten a few dangers of painted Christianity:
- New paint doesn’t give us new walls. Eventually paint will crack and peel, showing the imperfections of the underlying wall. Likewise, a Christian’s paint job will eventually fail to keep hidden her blemishes and faults.
- Under the right light paint can’t really hide blemishes. The trained eye can always see the minor cracks and holes on a freshly painted wall. With the help of a spotlight, most everyone can see the same imperfections. The Gospel shines a light on the walls of our life and reveals our deep need for new walls. A paint job can never hide this truth from our Maker.
- Adding a new coat of paint is like a surgeon giving us a Band-aid® when we need a heart transplant. In Matthew 23:27 Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees “whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” The only one we’re fooling with a whitewashed life is ourselves.
Changing metaphors: you don’t need a facelift; you need a new face.
Truthfully we need a new life. While a surgeon can give you a new face, he can’t give you a new life. There’s only One who can do that.
In John 3, Jesus said, “You must be born again.” That means we need a brand new life. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that when you’re in Christ, you are “a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Faith in Christ gives us a new life.
While living in the Chicago area, we witnessed an enormous gentrification movement. Developers bought up dilapidated houses, tore them down and built beautiful million dollar homes in their place. This analogy works to say God has destroyed our old house and built a new, more beautiful, house in its place. This new home has an eternal warranty and will never need a paint job or repairs.
I’ve spent too much time trying to paint and hide my old life when I’ve been given a new life in Christ. Today as I worship Christ, I will glorify him for giving me a brand new life. No more pretending that I have my act together.
Katie Nelson also penned a prophetic song called White Washed Tombs.