Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
I remember many times driving along on the highway and finding myself next to a car-carrier. One of those times I actually noticed the massive truck with movable ramps and hydraulic lifts that can carry ten or twelve cars at a time. What I noticed was the truck's paint was flaking off, as rust slowly digested the finish. The metal was bent and dented from years of hard work. Black stains marked numerous hydraulic fluid leaks. The truck looked so bad I was almost afraid that some of the "ugly" would rub off on to my car.
As I looked at the old beat up truck, I realized that I had seen hundreds of these trucks on the road before. But never once had I really noticed the truck itself. Why not? Because what usually gets my attention is not the truck. Instead, it's the load of new convertibles the truck is carrying, or the sight of a dozen shiny new Mustangs that catches my eye. Isn't it amazing how you can take a beat-up old truck, load it with shiny new sports cars, and suddenly all you notice is chrome and aluminum wheels and gleaming red paint? Isn't it incredible how the cargo actually makes the old truck almost look good?
When you give your life to Christ, you receive an amazing cargo, the Holy Spirit. And once inside your battered old life, he begins to produce fruit that wasn't there before. Gradually, you find yourself with a peace that you never knew before. You become more patient with your kids. You learn to control your mouth instead of shooting it off.
In Ezekiel, God makes this promise to his people: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
Over time, you actually start to become a new person. And while the physical body you wear is the same, it becomes less and less noticeable as your new "cargo" shines more and more brightly. One day you realize that the beauty on the inside has totally overwhelmed the body on the outside, and people are drawn to you because they desperately want what you have.
If you're trying to "enhance your image" or make yourself more attractive to others, maybe you should spend a little less time on your biceps and buns and a little more time on your soul and your spirituality.
After all, it's the cargo that makes the truck look good, not the other way around.
Dear Lord, we pray that we would focus on the cargo we carry so that we may be more and more like You. We pray today that those around us we see You through us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.