There I was, just an ordinary kid, on the precipice of the most important night of my life: the fifth-grade dance. If I had learned anything from watching hours of teenage sitcoms on television every morning before school, it was that true love is born at school dances.
Desperately desiring a girlfriend, I knew I needed to enhance my appearance for this night. This was my first school dance. It had to be perfect.
I picked out a snazzy shirt from my closet. I doused myself in drug-store cologne. I slicked my hair back and sprayed it down until it was brittle. I looked good.
My best friend and I gave each other pep talks in the car on the way to the dance. I arrived with confidence, ready to find true love and dance the night away.
Instead, I spent the night stuffing my face with cookies and candy bars, and standing scared against the wall for two straight hours.
On the outside, I thought I looked like the most happening kid in town. On the inside, I was still the same shy, fearful boy who had no idea how to approach a girl. I looked different on the outside, but the roots of change did not run deep into my heart.
When was the last time something moved you to change on the inside instead of the outside? When was the last time you worked on who you are, and not just who you appear to be?
To paraphrase Jesus in the book of Luke, we often cleanse the outside of our cup while forgetting to wash the inside.
For this reason, churches overflow on Easter Sunday. Just like everyone in Augusta is a golf fan for one week of the year, Easter is one of the two days of the year that can make everyone feel obligated to be a churchgoer.
It’s certainly exciting to see pews populated with people. Unfortunately, the resurrection message and celebration spirit of the day will not be around in a week for most of the crowd.
While many go to church for the first time all year on Easter, still others attend every week. Many of us hear the message of a risen savior presented on a regular basis. And we, too, are guilty of putting on appearances. We are rarely more than temporarily transformed by the Gospel before we revert back to our old ways.
A change that affects only your outward appearance does not truly change who you are. Simply sitting in church will not change you or make you a better person. The only way to experience true change is to examine who you are on the inside. You must let the message of the resurrection penetrate your spirit if you truly want to see change in your life.
The Easter merchandise has already been cleared off the shelves of department stores. Has the message of hope that Easter brings been cleared out in your heart just as quickly?
Will the passion of Easter leave your life as quickly as Masters fever exits Augusta after the tournament?
As the Easter season departs, will you still be a wallflower, stuck in your same old habits and fears, or will you embrace the resurrection life?
Will you let the message of Easter transform you on the inside? Will you step out onto the floor and dance?
ALEX DORIOT IS THE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT MINISTRIES AT THE HILL BAPTIST CHURCH IN AUGUSTA.