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“It’s a huge change; it looks so much better!” Those were the words from my wife after I finished spreading bag after bag of red mulch around our home. She is right, it’s amazing how putting down new mulch can make flower beds and landscaping look.
Mulch doesn’t change the makeup of the soil where the plants grow, it doesn’t change the house it surrounds; it simply covers up last year’s mulch. It covers over the old, gray, and faded appearance of the old. Yes, mulch has a few other benefits, but largely mulch is for aesthetics, designed to make things look better.
In the same way, God doesn’t want us to spread mulch in our spiritual lives, simply trying to cover over things we do wrong and not change things in our lives. In the Bible, Joel states, “Tear your hearts, not just your clothes and return to the Lord your God.” (Joel 2:13).
God desires our hearts to be turned toward Him. God does not desire an outward show that is designed to make us look better. Jesus echoed this idea when he called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, meaning they looked good from the outside but inside they were dead.
They had “spread mulch” on their spiritual lives and in a way looked like they were doing well by the casual observer.
My encouragement and challenge is to return to God with our whole hearts instead of trying to make our spiritual lives look good to people around us. God sees underneath the mulch and is not fooled or tricked by our effort to improve our spiritual appearance.
To God, the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart, not how good someone looks from the outside. For us individually, for our community, our state, and our world to change, we must turn to God with our hearts, not just covering up our problems with new mulch in order to look better. It must go deep, all the way to the heart.
(Josh Landrum is the pastor of Knoxville Baptist Church. He can be reached at 823-4441,Blog: http://pastorjoshreflections.blogspot.com/ or Twitter @Landrum_Josh. The church website is www.knoxvillebaptist.webs.com)