Decorated from the inside By Ron Hutchcraft Ministries Last Christmas, a friend gave us one of the most unique ornaments I've ever seen. As soon as you see it, you think how beautifully and exquisitely this glass decoration is painted. But what's amazing is that none of that artwork is on the outside of the ornament. It's been painted entirely on the inside! For centuries, the Chinese have perfected this "inside painting." Through a small opening in the ornament, the artist repeatedly inserts a miniature brush to paint the artwork. Of course, the process is painstaking and time consuming. It takes two days to just paint one ornament, but the result is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind miniature masterpiece. I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Decorated From the Inside." It takes quite an artist to make something beautiful from the inside out, and God is the master of that! Every one of us needs His beautifying touch, because every one of us carries our share of ugly inside us. And it keeps spilling out in our words, our attitude, how we treat other people, and it causes trouble. It causes hurt. It's like there's this Grand Canyon between the person I want to be and need to be and the person I really am. The battles are different for each of us, but we all battle our dark side; things that the people close to me hate, things I hate, things God hates. The ugliness of self-centeredness, of our destructive anger and the scars we leave with it, the deceit, the passions, and the addictions that we can't seem to master; all those things I say and do that hurt people I love and often people who don't deserve it. We want to change. We can't. And we're frustrated by so many attempts we've made to be the right kind of person, to finally find some inner peace, to find a purpose that just gives every day some meaning. We look to religion to help us be what we need to be, but there's a problem. Religion basically tries to redecorate us from the outside and it keeps coming off! Jesus said of some very religious people in His day, "On the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness" (Matthew 23:28). There's some of that in all of us. But for those of us who are tired of being one thing on the outside and something very different on the inside, for those of us who want to beat our darkness and become the person we need to be and we want to be, well for us the Bible has liberating good news. It's found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, and it's our word for today from the Word of God. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" The Bible tells us that Jesus does what no religion could ever do. Like those Chinese artists, He beautifies us on the inside so we're genuinely changed and we're permanently changed. All of the ugly stuff and the dark stuff in our heart is summed up in one Bible word - sin; rebellion against God and His laws. I've tried to be the god of my own life, and it's not working. That's why Jesus came. Our only hope of sin's power being beaten was for God Himself to conquer it, which He did when Jesus paid the debt for our sins on the cross. Then when He conquered death on Easter Morning, He proved there's nothing He can't conquer. This makeover miracle in your soul begins from the moment that you are, as that verse said, "in Christ." Not just around Christ, but really belonging to Him. He did all the dying for all your sin. What's left is for you to put your total trust in Him as your Savior - your deliverer from your sin. If you're ready to begin a relationship with Him, right here in this Christmas season, He came into the world this time of year. Let Him come into your heart. Just tell Him, "Jesus, I'm Yours." And if you want to be sure you belong to Him, to have this new beginning, would you go to our website. There's a lot of information there that has helped a lot of people at that point in time. It's YoursForLife.net. Just ask anyone whose let Christ in. When you get Jesus, you start becoming a person you never dreamed you could be. He will make you new on the inside as soon as you open the door.