This past winter we started a construction project that will continue through this coming summer. It's partially finished and the upstairs part looks beautiful. But, there's also a downstairs part that looks really ugly, bare and dirty. Someday it will be beautiful, but for now it's more than a bit unsightly and anyone who ventures down there will get dirt on them.
I remember when I was a young man I felt the expectation and need to be perfect through-and-though. I was really uncomfortable with some of the unsightly parts of my character and my flawed humanity. So, I dressed up the "upstairs" parts of me that looked finished to perfection and tried to hide the door to the basement where others could see the bare, ugly mess that was just as much a part of me as the finished parts.
I'm reminded this morning that Jesus, the Branch of Jesse, came to do a work in me until it's completed. I am still under construction as God builds righteousness, faith and Christ-like-ness in me. There's a lot to be done. A construction site is a messy, muddy, dusty, and chaotic place. You can't dress a construction site up with a nice area rug and pretend that it's a finished room.
Somwhere along the way I gave up trying to pretend I'm a finished project. I decided to let people see the messy part of me that's under construction. They'll just have to pardon the mess. To my amazement, loved ones were not only gracious, but more than willing to get thair hands dirty and help with the work.