Day 1: Spray Tan of Law
Spray tan is a bodybuilder’s best friend and worst enemy. Since I was competing in the physique division, I had to get sprayed by the orange-brown paint three times. Two coats Friday evening and my third coat Saturday morning before the competition. I couldn’t wear deodorant. I couldn’t wear perfume. I couldn’t take a shower for twenty-four hours. It’s a fairly gross experience. The competitors actually have to bring black sheets and pillowcases to the hotel, so they don’t get smudges of the tan tint all over the bed.
Under the bright lights of the stage, the dark tan looks amazing. It covers all kinds of blemishes, it makes the muscles more pronounced and it prevents lighter skin from looking washed out. In fact, the spray tan almost makes the competitor look perfect from a distance. I have freckled skin, but from the stage my skin looked flawless. However up front, the spray tan tells a different story. The dye actually made my freckles darker close up. And it made my faded stretch marks visible again. The tint also mixed with my sweat and made dirty-like blotches all over my body. I looked unnatural and distorted face-to-face. I didn’t smell too good either.
I like to compare spray tan to the law. The law is the opposite of grace. The law is humankind’s effort to try to be perfect before a holy God and before others. When we put the law above grace in our daily life, we might look perfect on stage from a distance, but up close the law actually magnifies our imperfections. Only grace can offer us a perfect holiness that we can’t achieve on our own. When you look at the life of someone who clings onto grace, you may see their flaws, but they are beautiful under the glorious light of Jesus’ grace.
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6.14 NIV).
God, I struggle with understanding law versus grace. But I do know that law magnifies my mistakes and grace erases them. I am saved by grace through Jesus Christ. I am the righteousness of God only through His work on the Cross. I don’t want to fall into the trap of the law, trying to be good enough to please You or trying to be good enough to deserve a relationship with You. Help me to not hide my flaws. I don’t need to look perfect in front of others. I trust that I can reveal my weaknesses, knowing that Your strength will be seen in them. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Do you try to be perfect in front of your family and friends?
- Do you have flaws or weaknesses that you wish to cover up?
- How does knowing that you are righteous through grace help you to release the image of perfection that you are trying to keep?
You are saved by grace alone!