The Spirit speaks when I least expect Him sometimes. While touching up some spots around our place where the former residents (and, ahem, my kiddos) have been less than kind, the words "surface" and "superficial" kept coming into my mind. So I allowed myself to dwell on them and to imagine these freshly coated walls perfectly lining the rooms of our home and inviting us to sit and rest with their purity and perfection. But coats of paint don't change the truth that underneath there are marks and scars and holes from the use and abuse of those who have rested here before. Like the white washed sepulchres to which Jesus compared the Pharisees, a coat of paint covers but does not remove the grime beneath the visible surface of our walls.
Jesus's promise to us was not a fresh coat of paint. He does not take a sinner and polish them up, "good as new." He literally makes them new, born again, torn down and rebuilt, a new man, putting to death what once was and walking in new and glorious life with Lord Jesus.
I heard the Spirit speak ways that I am still trying to coat myself with paint... put on a good face, don't let the ugly show through. No! Burn it down. Destroy it. Put it to death. Bare the ugly. Set down the paint brush and start demolition. Let the dirty walls be visible; let others see them and let them see the breaker hammer in your hands. Allow the grain of wheat to fall into the earth and die. And watch King Jesus bring growth and new life and harvest from all things self being brought to nothing.