The Master Painter
Updated: Mar 21, 2019
The way I see it, there are two types of painters: the “big picture” painter and the “detail-oriented” painter.
I'm a big picture painter. I painstakingly choose my paint color and can’t wait to see it transform the space. I start with a roller, not a brush, and begin spreading paint over large areas of the wall. I’m not as concerned with good coverage at this point. I just want to get a good look at the color on the wall.
The detail-oriented painter begins with the taping and cutting-in with a brush. The transformation is a slower process for them, but they know the hard work up front will be worth it in the end.
As I painted a bedroom in the rental house we're about to move out of, I thought about how God is a big picture painter. He transforms our lives first through salvation which can be like a roller brush making big, sweeping changes of how we see, act and react, and prioritize.
Our remaining days on earth are spent with the Lord picking up the paint brush and cutting-in, which is our sanctification process. The painting project of our lives will not be complete until we are face-to-face with Christ. It is then we are glorified and the paint brushes and rollers can be laid aside for good.
In the fall of 1990, I sat on the edge of my dorm room bed with a girl from Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) as she led me in a prayer of repentance and acceptance. Others had planted seeds along the way, and now the fruit it bore in my heart was ready to be harvested. Jesus Christ became my personal Savior and Lord of my life that day.
There weren’t dramatic changes on the outside. I wasn’t a drinker or partier who unexpectedly stopped or a foul-mouthed person suddenly cleaning up the way she spoke. No, the outside of my life did not need to be cleaned up as much as the inside.
My salvation was like God taking the roller brush to the walls of my heart and completely changing the look of it. My priorities changed and what I longed for changed. My soul literally thirsted for God and His word. I couldn’t get enough of it. For the first time in my life, I was allowing someone else to take control. I sought guidance from the Lord in prayer and reading the Bible.
Bright and brilliant colors filled with peace and joy covered the dark and dingy walls of shame, guilt, and embarrassment.
Jesus created a big-picture transformation in my life, and I was good with the changes. Fully satisfied and content with His work.
However, our God is not a God of unfinished business. I love the story of Jesus healing the blind man in Mark 8:22-25 because it is a gradual healing.
Jesus and his followers came to Bethsaida. There some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch the man. So Jesus took the blind man’s hand and led him out of the village. Then he spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on the man and asked, “Can you see now?”
The man looked up and said, “Yes, I see people, but they look like trees walking around.”
Again Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then the man opened his eyes wide and they were healed, and he was able to see everything clearly. (NCV)
Just like the blind mind, my sight was not completely clear. I was focused on the large areas of change, but Jesus began asking me to look around and notice all the areas along the ceiling, floor, and corners which remained dark, dingy, and untouched.
Cutting-in is a precise work often needing several more coats of paint than the roller brush. Especially if the paint you are attempting to cover is dark. Although cutting-in is something I dread, I do know it's necessary. I would never be fully satisfied with a room that only had a fresh coat of paint in the middle of the walls and not in the corners or along the top and bottom. I can’t be satisfied with this in my heart, either.
So, I do my best to hand the paint brush over to Jesus and let Him begin the next step. And how glorious is that! We don’t have to do the work! It’s not even like having Jesus as a painting partner. It’s better than that. It’s having Jesus come in and do all the painting work for you, and all He asks is that you cooperate and let Him do it.
Sanctification can be hard, uncomfortable, and downright aggravating at times! Haven’t you painted a portion of a wall, looked it over carefully, and determined it perfect only to discover the next day, with different lighting, you missed several spots? I can’t stand that. It feels like a never-ending process. Sanctification can feel this way, too. God begins working on an area of our lives, we believe we're healed/free/forgiven, only to find there's still more work to be done when He casts a different light on it.
The fact is, this IS a never-ending, life-long process while we're on this earth. Let’s not try to hurry past this process or skip it all together because, remember, it is worth it and we have a hope to cling to - a light at the end of the tunnel - glorification!
It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me. 1 Corinthians 13:12
When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in our heart and not just our mind (as I explain to my Kindergartners), and allow Him to be Lord of our lives (giving up control), we are promised life with Him in heaven for eternity.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am. John 14:2-3
And guess what? We won’t need to paint the walls of those rooms! They will be finished and perfected by the hands of the Master painter.