The Root of the Problem

The doorway trim in our house was painted long before we bought it a few years ago, and again before we moved in. Since it was built in the 60’s, it was probably painted several times before we ever laid eyes on it!

No matter how many layers of paint cover the wood, these knots have a stubborn way of bleeding through.

There is a process for prepping knots before any paint is applied, but regular paint primer by itself isn’t enough to keep them hidden. Why is that? The knots in the wood are filled with sap, which continues to ooze long after the tree has been cut down and turned into lumber. Over time, it oozes right into and through to the surface of the paint.

The root of the problem is unseen for a little while, but eventually becomes visible.

We can be living examples of the same process!

We make a choice to clean up our lives, make good decisions, and become “good people.” We slap on a bunch of paint, and we look good for a while!

But then our sap starts showing. What’s on the inside starts oozing out.

We haven’t dealt with the root of the problem.

Here are a couple of roots that may start showing themselves when we’re under pressure:

Pride

We tend to see ourselves through rose-colored glasses, but everyone else as severely lacking in ____________________. We know it all, and we’ve got all the answers! Those poor blokes need to be set straight, straighten up, and start thinking and acting right! Never mind all of the mistakes we ourselves make in word and deed . . .

We forget that we are but dust (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7). We forget that we are often blind to our own shortcomings. God told Jeremiah, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT).

The answer to that question comes in the next verse: “But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10).

We need to come before our Creator in humility, open to the fact that we are sorely lacking in all areas when measured against His righteous, perfect standard!

Fear

Have you noticed the amount of anger bubbling over in society these days? I tend to think that the root of most of it is actually fear. Fear of the future. Fear of evil people. Fear of loss. Fear of being controlled.

Something in us thinks that if we lash out strongly enough, it will make the scary things run away! But that doesn’t happen. Fight or flight just doesn’t work with the majority of fears swirling around in our minds.

We forget Who has brought us this far and will continue to carry us. We lose sight of Who knows the number of our days as well as the inheritance waiting for us after our last one on earth. We forget the temporary nature of this life (Psalm 39:5), and the eternal nature of the next (1 John 2:17).

What to do?

What should we do when we start noticing our inner sap bleeding through the paint we’ve tried to cover up with?

First of all, we need to once again set our sight where it belongs: on Jesus! Just like the song says,

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”

Stop being so swayed by circumstance! I promise you that whatever your circumstance is, it’s going to change. But “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He’ll never change.

Secondly, we need to ask God to heal our hearts. He knows all that’s inside of us, and He knows how to fix it (Exodus 15:26)! He cares deeply for us. “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

You are deeply loved, my friend! Even when your sap starts showing . . .

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