August 8, 2008
Your Prep Work Matters
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalms 119:11, NIV
I have been without my car for the past couple of days.
Thankfully, it wasn't stolen. Nor did it break down. It's merely getting a fresh coat of paint on the front bumper, which has been peeling here and there for a while now.
Apparently - as I've come to learn after a brief tutorial from my friendly, neighborhood paint & body repair representative - automotive paint is so sensitive that even if a drop of sweat gets between the unfinished bumper and a couple of coats of paint and sealant, it can cause major peeling problems down the line.
So that means that the prep work that happens before the paint job, is very, very important. What goes on in the process that lies beneath will determine whether the top coat is looking good or not.
In thinking about this process, I've decided that I'm a lot like my peeling bumper. When I do the proper prep work in my heart each and every day, then my actions - my visible witness to others - will be attractive and reflective of Christ living within me.
But boy, when I don't do the necessary preparations, my "good" example starts peeling away. And fast. It's a process that requires continual upkeep - just like the paint on my car. It won't always stay in pristine condition. So I must constantly monitor the exterior to see what needs work and when and where.
In addition to that - since I am animate and have a soul-I must do additional monitoring of my interior to see what is lurking in my heart. Am I doing the proper daily prep work and trying to coat my thinking with whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable? (Philippians 4:8).
Or am I intent on doing what I think is good, makes me feel better and makes me look good to others? For example ...
If I lead this Bible study, people will think more highly of me. A BETTER WAY ... If I lead this Bible study, I will surely grow in my faith and will be able to help others.
If I sing in choir, it will be the stepping stone for me to sing a solo in front of the congregation. A BETTER WAY ... If I sing in choir, then my God-given, musical gifts will be used to help lead others in worship.
If I sign up to provide a meal for a family in need, I will have done my good deed for the week. A BETTER WAY ... If I sign up to provide a meal for a family in need, then they will not have to prepare at least one meal for themselves during this difficult time.
See the difference? Prep work really does matter. When I have meditated on the Word of God and opened my heart to the work of the Holy Spirit, then my outward actions will hopefully be that which glorify God and bless others.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Are you in need of some inner prep work? Try peeling away some outer layers of comfort in your life this week (watching television, surfing the 'Net, dining out, going to the movies ... whatever). And see what's left, underneath it all. It might be time for some heavy-duty prep work.