The Paint Saga, Part II: Is that the color I picked?

 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin  (1 John 1:7).

Something didn’t look right.

This year, I embarked on an extreme painting project in order to cover over nearly eight years of child debris speckled on the walls of our home with some fresh paint.

I began in the dining room.  You can read all about that color-choosing nightmare here: The Paint Saga (Or why my dining room is now chocolate).

Fresh off the eventual success of turning my dining room into a chocolate bar, I decided to paint the kitchen.  This time, though, knowing I’d probably make a disastrous color choice if left to my own devices, I enlisted help from a trusted source–namely, my mom.

I handed her a pile of about 10 green color swatches.  Showing her the color I had picked, she picked another.

The lady at the paint store oohed and aahed over the cheerful green-as-grass color mixed up in the paint can.  In fact, it inspired her to paint her bathroom in the same color.  This, I was certain, guaranteed success.  I carried the paint home confidently, tucked my toddler into bed for naptime, and began covering every wall in my kitchen with “dillweed.”

All seemed to be going well.  The paint was fresh, clean, cheerful, and on most of the walls, it was what I wanted.

But I hadn’t considered the light.  There’s something tricky about the lighting in our home, something that makes paint look one color on one wall and a totally different (neon lime green) color on another wall.

My husband arrived home to my surprise paint job and asked me if I liked it.  Did I like it?  Well, I liked it when the lights in the kitchen were off and I liked it on the walls farthest away from the window.

But right there in that one corner of the kitchen, I felt like I needed to pop on some sun glasses to combat the glare.

The problem isn’t the paint so much as the unevenness of the light on the paint.  So, I’ve spent about two weeks trying to work in the dark of the kitchen as often as possible.  With the lights off, the lime green effect is muted and hidden and I begin to think, “It’s not so bad!” Then, when I finally concede blindness and begrudgingly flick on the lights, I shield my eyes and ask, “How long can I live with this?”

Are there areas of your life where you feel pleasantly cozy in the dark, but when the lights shine in, you feel embarrassed by the glaringly obvious wrong?

Or are you astonished and bitterly hurt at times by the hidden darkness surrounding the deeds of others as you try your best to live in the light?

Scripture assures us that:

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops (Luke 12:2-3).

When I’m speechless at the machinations of others, when I’m disgusted by the secretive shams and the deeds performed in dark corners and shadowy alleyways, when there’s sneaking around and avoiding authority, I pray.

I ask God to “shine His light on all the deeds done in darkness so that nothing remains unrevealed.”

This isn’t just about justice or seeing misbehaviors punished.  It’s about redemption and repentance because until the light shines in, sin can remain untouched and happy while slinking around in the dark.

Unfortunately, it seems at times like sin gets ahead, like underhanded deeds succeed and good people trying to live in “all that is good and right and true” sometimes get trampled on as darkness flourishes. Sometimes the good guys lose and the bad guys dance in triumph.

Yet, the assurance that God’s light will reveal truth is our hope, assurance and comfort.  We can rest in that and pray for it.

If we do, though, we must be prepared for the inevitable shining of the light on our own lives.  We can’t just point accusatory fingers at others without first asking God to assess us.  In Ephesians, Paul challenged the church to:

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” (Ephesians 5:8-12).

I tell my daughters all the time, “Everyone makes mistakes” and so we do.  But when we’re intent on burying the mistakes and returning to them, we’re no longer trying “to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”  We’ve become more comfortable in darkness and when we prefer shadows to sunrise, we know we’ve got a sin problem.

Oswald Chambers wrote: “The secret of all spiritual understanding is to walk in the light–not the light of our convictions, or of our theories, but the light of God” (p. 18, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount).

If we’re letting our feelings or gut or impressions or opinions guide us, we’re bound to live under an uneven light source.  But the light of God is consistent, bright, and revealing.  There’s no uncertainty or confusion with Him. Life in the light brings true freedom and joy.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

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