We always did our own painting when living in our ranch home in Florida. Whether outside or in, it was reachable and doable.

Oh, sure, I had to get up on a ladder to cut in the edges near the eight-foot ceilings. I would painstakingly apply the blue tape knowing my abilities needed that guide line and protection.

But then Ken took over with his arching roller that spread the paint faster and more efficiently. I took pride in painting the molding and trim work.

We even tackled painting the outside of our stucco dwelling with Ken doing the larger areas and leaving window trim and boxes to me. Together we made a pretty good team.

But our North Carolina house has high ceilings and more than one story. It is cedar siding with decks in three places. Therefore, we know that we cannot handle this job. Even inside is daunting because of the high ceilings.

Right now, as I sit on the upper deck, I am watching the house across the road being prepared for painting. The painter is the same contractor who will do our house next.

How fun it would be if he simply showed up and painted and got done. However, even he must do the preparation first if he wants the paint job to last and be beautiful.

So, first they pressure clean the entire surface to be painted in order to remove mold and dirt. Then it’s ready for a new paint job.

And so, we wait with eager anticipation for our turn.

However, it got me to thinking about how different … and yet similar in ways … this is to our spiritual lives.

For example … different.

When we come to Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and receive him into our lives, we come just as we are. We don’t have to clean up our act or white-wash our hearts. It is by his power and grace alone that we are saved, cleansed and forgiven.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,” says 2 Corinthians 5: 17 NKJV, “he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

However, once we belong to him, our desires change and we want to live a life that pleases the Lord.

“Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)” says Ephesians 5: 8-10, “finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.”

Come as you are … then prepare to allow the Holy Spirit to encourage change in your behavior. Selah

Jan Merop, a columnist with the Highlands News-Sun for 29 years, resided in Sebring for 28 years; now living in North Carolina. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan @ pauseandconsider.net.