The Fourth Wall
The winding highways and farm roads of central Indiana are punctuated
with small towns. Many of the houses in these towns are a century old or
more, dating back to an era before vinyl and aluminum siding.
Maintaining one of these houses can be a full-time hobby as winter's cold
and summer's heat tag-team to chip and crack even the best paint-job.
One house in particular caught my eye several years ago. This big two-
story home had been meticulously painted... on three sides. The fourth
wall, the back of the house, still sported the old, peeling paint, which had
once graced the entire home.
My first thought was "work in progress"; a big job takes time to do right
and I guessed that the homeowner would soon be finishing up. I was
wrong. As weeks stretched into months, I wondered each time I drove
past: "Maybe he's waiting for better weather," I thought. "Maybe he ran
out of money." I finally gave up looking; the last time I noticed, the
fourth wall was still unpainted.
Your life is a house with four walls. The front wall is the side you show
the world; it's where you put your best foot forward, the carefully
crafted public image we all hide behind. The second wall of your life is
the "private" side, the person that your family and close friends and
co-workers see. This side is usually rougher than the front, since these
people know the "real" you a little better. They sometimes see you at
your worst and know how bad you can really be.
The third wall is worse still, a hidden side, the image of yourself that you
keep in your own mind. The side is rougher because it includes many
hidden sins that you alone know about, the darker parts of your inner self
that are carefully hidden from even those closest to you. Whereas your
public and private sides exist in the minds of others, this side exists only
in your own mind. It's a side of yourself that even you may not
like, yet this side is not an entirely accurate picture either, for each of us
has sins which we hide even from ourselves, sins we refuse to
acknowledge. This dishonesty keeps the third side from being as flawed
as it could be, though our self-deception is perhaps the greatest flaw of
Finally, we reach the back of the house, the fourth wall. The fourth wall
is the image of you that God sees. Strangely, this side of you can be
both the worst and the best side of all. It is the worst side because there is
nothing you can do to conceal a single blemish from the piercing eye of
the Almighty. Every sin, public or private, is revealed in all its
hideousness here, laid bare before him. Sadly, even the sins that
you refuse to see, the sins that your mind will not admit or acknowledge,
are here in plain sight. No truer, more revolting image of you exists
anywhere else in the universe. But...
By a miracle of grace, the fourth wall can also become the most beautiful
wall, more perfect even than the carefully groomed public image of the
first wall. For as a believer, the blood of Jesus covers your sins like a
fresh coat of gleaming white paint that will never crack, peel, or fade.
Christ can make the fourth wall of your life more perfect than any of the
other three, simply because the other three sides are YOUR creation,
and the fourth side can be HIS. And in Christ, when God looks at you he
sees a perfection you could never attain on your own; he sees the
perfect image of his own son.
What would you pay for house paint that will last forever? What would
you say if I told you that somebody had already paid for your paint AND
was willing to scrape, sand, and paint your house for you? Too good to be
true, right? Not in this case.
What you cannot conceal, God is willing to overlook. What you cannot
hide, God is willing to cover over. What you cannot overcome, God is
willing to dismiss. But only when it is buried deep within the covering of
his son's blood.
The fourth wall of your life needs some paint. Have you met the master
[ by Mark Phillips (email@example.com) -- from 'Daily Wisdom' ]
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