“You can dress him up but you can’t take him anywhere.” You’ve probably heard that statement used to describe someone, or maybe it has been used to describe you. It is a reference to the fact that no matter how fancy someone looks on the outside, they are still the same person on the inside. Do you really think behavior or attitudes change simply because someone is wearing a tuxedo or a lovely gown?
You have a little red wagon that when you bought it was shiny fire engine red. Over time its shine has dulled a bit and some rust spots have appeared. You buy a can of red spray paint and cover the dull wagon with a brand new coat of shiny red paint. It looks brand new! But soon, the rust spots appear again. Why? Because unless you first sanded the rust away and then covered those areas with primer before painting, you only dressed up the wagon on the ‘outside” without removing the rust on the “inside,” so soon the rust reappears.
This week many families are coloring eggs for Easter. First the eggs are hard boiled and then they are painted and dyed fancy colors. The dull white shell has been transformed into an array of bright colors. But the “inside” anatomy of the egg, the yolk, albumen, chalazae, air cell, and membranes has not changed. The egg is still an egg, only the “outside” has changed.
When we commit our lives to Jesus, He is not interested in changing us on the outside, simply dressing us up, instead, He wants to change us on the inside. Real change only happens from the inside out, not the other way around. And no matter how hard we try, we cannot really change ourselves. Sure, we can tweak here and there, but because of our sinful nature, the real change we need can only come through a relationship with Jesus. It is only through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that we become “cleaned up and dressed up on the inside.”
The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel shared these words of the LORD to the people – “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez 36:26)
And God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, said this – “I will give them a new heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”
David, in Psalm 51:10, asked this of God – “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
In Isaiah 64:8 we are told that God is the potter and we are the clay.
Jesus died on the cross to give you new life, both eternally and also while you still have breath in your lungs. (See John 10:10). So, today, if you want to be more than dressed up in fancy clothes or a newly painted rusty red wagon or a brightly colored Easter egg, then ask Jesus to change you on the inside. Ask Him to give you a new heart, a pure heart, and put a new spirit in you. Now that is change that lasts!
New Bern, North Carolina