It had been a while since I'd gone, as the place was being remodeled. Pretty, modern, clean red and white pillars and signage brightened the brick exterior. The building now looked like the most recently constructed buildings in the franchise, rather than a hold over from the seventies.
But when I cruised through the drive through, it became evident that the remodel was only skin deep. The equipment - in some ways, the heart of the business - had not been refurbished, much less upgraded. The curb appeal of the outside increased tenfold, while the inside continued to deteriorate.
Don't we often behave like that location owner? We spend our time working on the outside, the surface, the area the world sees, but don't do the work on the inside, where things really count. When I was working with the third and fourth graders as an AWANA leader, we would use a coffee cup as an analogy. The outside of the cup would be squeaky clean; the inside, however, was coated with grounds.
In a God-incidence, Pastor Tom had spoken a bit about this very issue that morning as we went through 1 John 5. We get things turned around, trying to change behavior before having a true change of heart. In his example, he doesn't refrain from cheating on his lovely wife because he has a fear of getting caught and exposed, but he refrains from cheating on his wife because he loves her, and does not want to cause her any pain.
1 John 5:3 says:
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
What we often miss in this passage is that keeping His commandments is the result, not the means. We keep His commandments out of our love for God. We love our brothers because we love God. The wellspring of our love for God overflows onto those around us. It spurs us to action, to demonstrate that love.
Our spiritual remodel starts on the inside.