Recently, my husband built a two-story house for our pets, which sets on our deck. I decided to paint it to match our house. So after priming it, I got the house paint and proceeded to apply the cream color paint to the pet house.
Since painting the house for our pets was not the only thing on my agenda that day, I really didn’t want to take the time to set out plastic to protect the deck from any spills or drips. Even though the deck is a dark brown, which I knew would boldly show the cream color paint should I make any boo-boos.
Still, I just didn’t want to mess with plastic. I was sure I wouldn’t make any spills anyway. It’s not like I was an amateur. Mark and I had built two houses, after all, and I had quite a bit of experience painting. I’d be fine.
I began painting the back section and completed it nicely. Then over loading my brush (to save time, of course), I dripped. Bummer! “You clumsy thing!” I scolded myself. Unprepared with even a wet rag, I ran in the house to get something to wipe up the drip before it became a permanent splotch on our deck. It wiped up fairly well, but left a faint mark.
It would have been at this point that a reasonable person would have admitted needing to get the plastic before any more accidents occurred. Nope. Not me. I just knew I wouldn’t spill again. So, I proceeded with painting, followed by more dripping.
As I continued the project (still without protective plastic), I couldn’t help thinking how my stubborn, risky painting job was so similar to how I sometimes handle temptations. I know very well when I am taking a risk of falling, but sometimes I get lazy about going after the protective covering of God to keep me from it. “Oh, I’ve mastered this before,” I might think. “I won’t fall.” And then I do. “Well, it certainly won’t happen again!” And then it does.
I looked at those spots on the deck that didn’t quite wash off and thought about the blemishes that can remain in our lives even after the mess has been wiped up. Spiritual spills that could have been prevented if we had taken the time to call upon God to protect us from failing.
Solomon says in Proverbs 16:18, “pride goes before destruction.” I guess it’s true. It was pride that convinced me that I could paint without any spills, and it is pride that convinces us that we can handle temptations all by ourselves. But we can’t. Ever. It is far better to humbly take the time to call upon the only one who can protect us than to repeatedly deal with the spills caused by our own pride.