Some years ago I happened upon a quaint little town in the hill country of Virginia. Business establishments, jammed one against another, crowded the narrow main street. Here and there I could see an alley between buildings.
Each business displayed an impressive facade. The neat masonry, fresh paint, and sparkling glass windows all added to the neat appearance of the quiet village. As I ambled down the street enjoying the peaceful summer evening, I chose an alley to explore. Stepping from the bright summer sun into the obscurity, I paused momentarily, letting my eyes adjust to the penetrating gloom.
The dim light revealed decayed timbers, exposed sewer lines, and trash scattered helterskelter. At my approach, rats scurried into their holes.
Beyond the alley lay huge piles of trash and garbage. Beyond them, run-down shacks portrayed the dismal plight of the community poor.
Temporarily I forgot the immaculate sunlit street “back there.” But quickly I jolted back to reality. “What a contrast,” I mused, “so clean on the side visitors see, but so wretched behind that false front!”
This two-sided village made me ponder. Don’t we humans resemble this town?
Each of us has two sides. There’s the “you” that others see—the person who tries so hard to make a good impression, to do everything just right. Then there’s the “you” when you’re alone—the “you” no one else sees.
But suppose someone would see the real you behind the scenes? What would he learn about you? What kind of impression would you make?
Would you be confident of your presentability? Or would you be ashamed to be “exposed” for what you really are?
When a person buys a piece of furniture, he investigates it carefully. He opens the drawers, tests its sturdiness, examining the way it’s put together. He’s looking for quality. He can’t judge it by the shiny veneer. Looks are deceiving, you know.
What you are “underneath” reveals your true qualities—your real worth. People may never see the private “you,” yet there is One who sees it all. “For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Someday God will judge all people for what they really are. All false fronts will be stripped away. “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known” (Luke 8:17).
In that day, all the images and good impressions that we may have tried to build up will mean nothing. What we really are “underneath” is all that will matter.
How can you get that inner quality of life that will really count?
You must begin by asking Jesus Christ to take control of your life and clean it up. In Him, you will have a new, changed life. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Allow Christ to sweep away the corruption and debris of the old life. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). There’ll be a new you! Inside and out!
Yield both the seen and the unseen “you” to Christ. Reject the futile efforts of the majority to cover up sin.
Let Christ be the LORD of your whole life. Exchange your false front for a true character. What you do with Jesus Christ will determine the quality of your life now and in the next life.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).