First Presbyterian Church

The Inside is What Counts

God’s grace and peace to you this day!

I am in the market, maybe, or at least thinking about being in the market for a new car. My Toyota Highlander is a 2004 with about 85,000 miles on it.  It has been a great car but I am not sure how much longer it will last.  As I was intentionally looking at it for trade-in or resale value the other day, I began to notice a few dents and dings on the outside – some I remembered others surprised me.  The back bumper has a dent in it where I backed into a tree; I remember that!  Then I saw a couple of dings on the drivers side; not sure how they got there.  On the passenger’s side, there is a scrape in the front bumper that I didn’t know anything about.  Not too bad outside but it does show some wear – after all it is 12 years old.

The inside looks pretty spectacular for a 12-year-old car.  There is one little scratch in the leather on the driver’s side and the arm for the passenger’s “chair” needs an adjustment forward.  Other than that the inside looks great!

It made me think about our spiritual lives.  How our outside bodies get bumped and bruised and sometimes we recognize the scar and sometimes it just appears and we are completely unaware of how, when or what happened.  In 2 Corinthians 4:16 we read:Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (NIV).  This verse reminds me that we cannot always tell what things look like on the inside just by looking at the outside.  Sometimes the very things that make us look or feel banged up on the outside are the very same things that are inwardly transforming our spirits, hearts and minds.  (I know for a fact that backing into that tree – which is still there by the way, made me more aware of how quickly and carefully I back out of the garage and into the driveway.)  I also understand that sometimes those bumps and dings do a lot of damage – inside and out; those take more care to repair and often leave a scar.

So for us as Christ followers how do we focus on celebrating the good “bumps” and also focus on allowing God to redeem the more hurtful “dents”?  What are the “bumps” in your life that  you celebrate for the lessons learned?  Where are the places that still need work and redemption?

We are more than cars; we are children of the living God who wants to renew us inwardly day-by-day; bump-by-bump and bruise-by-bruise.  Sometimes we wear out but not a single one of us gets turned in for a newer model.  God does better than that; God is continually available to renew us from the inside.  Inside is where God does God’s best work, if we are only willing.  My prayer is that we may all be open to the transforming and renewing work of God in our lives — no matter how old we are or how many miles we have traveled.

Blessings,

Pastor Judy