To properly remove wallpaper from the wall one must first scrap/peel every layer of paper from the wall — and in our case– the ceiling. After all of the paper is removed, the walls must be thoroughly washed to remove all left over adhesive from the walls and ceiling to make sure nothing remains to prevent the paint from sticking to the walls.
It is easy to spot walls that have been properly prepared for paint and walls that have been improperly prepared. The cleaned walls have no smears in the paint, rough spots on the walls, or bumps from left over paper. Unclean walls can be a disaster and require more time to repair the mistakes.
I have realized this is just the same with life.
As a believer, with God’s help, we need to remove all of the layers of our old life. Some will come off easily, others will require continued work to get rid of all the paper. Once the “paper” is removed we may think we are ready to do the next thing, even the next great thing for God. When really, we need to focus on the unseen things– the hidden things– that will prevent the fullness of a life with Christ to be applied to our lives.
The sticky stuff is hardest. It’s the way we hold on to a grudge, or judge someone else because he or she is different. It may be the way we nurse hurts from the past, or mistreatment from the present. Whatever it is, it doesn’t allow the complete blessing of Grace to fill our lives.
We all know the broken and prickly people in our lives who make it difficult to love them. Now imagine someone who has accepted Christ, but still hangs on to the “old paper” because it’s familiar. They can be even harder to love and still we are called to love them. Just like when Lazarus emerged from the tomb, Jesus called to the onlookers to help unwrap him from his grave clothes (John 11:44) we are called to help new believers, even the former broken and prickly ones, to break free from the sticky stuff and be free.
This is exactly what Jesus did with us:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,