I spent the morning shampooing the carpets. To my jaded, cynical eye, cleaning the carpets is an exercise in futility. After all my hard work, the carpets are still not clean. Oh, they are cleaner. The dirty water that came out of the carpet cleaner testifies to that fact. Yet, while the carpets are cleaner, they are still not clean. And frankly, they never will be. Too much life has been lived on these carpets. Too many footprints; too many paw prints; too many late night conversations; too much playtime; too many guests; too many kids; too many sleepovers under the Christmas tree; too many books and newspapers read while lying on the floor; too many picnics in the living room; too many study sessions; well, you get the idea. If I wanted to spend the money and hire a professional to clean the carpets, they might do a better job than I can. But the fact remains that while the carpets might be cleaner, they will never be clean. The only solution is buying a new carpet.
Isn’t the same thing true of life? I can attend the latest seminar by the hottest speaker. I can buy the recent best seller offered by the book-of-the-month-club. I can use the principles touted by the newest self-help guru. But the reality is that I am only making cosmetic changes to the outside of my life. I am merely reforming a few bad habits. I might be cleaner and more attractive and perhaps even winsome. I may be able to win friends and influence people. But deep down inside I still have dirt wedged into the fibers of my life. No amount of shampoo and self-help practices can steam it out. The only solution is to admit my inability to change my life and ask God to transform me.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)