“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin… Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:2 and 10 (NIV)
In many places, the Bible tells us to actively use the principle… think before you speak. Unfortunately, I am a slow learner. Sometimes that gets me into trouble and sometimes it just causes an up-roar. Let me tell you what happened a few Sunday’s ago.
Bob and Stephanie took a daddy-daughter vacation to the mountains. I was glad for them to go as life is too precious not to make those kinds of memories. Since I was gone most of June, I was quite happy to stay home and enjoy some coveted alone time – just me and the cat. Plus, I had a project in mind that would keep me busy.
I wanted to take down the wallpaper from the master bath and give the entire room a face lift. Why not? I know how to do more than just spend money! However, once I started I realized one important thing. I sorely underestimated the time it would take to get painted-over and old wallpaper off the walls. Icks! I’ll be doing this forever!
Well, long-story short, I made a few phone calls and got some help for the next week. That Sunday morning the girls in class asked a normal question, “Barbara, what did you do this weekend?”
Without thinking, I responded, “I hired a man.” A nanosecond later, we all realized how that sounded, especially after someone yelled, “Just how long has your husband been gone!” After recovering from severe laughter, I attempted to explain the man was going to take off some wallpaper. Another blessed soul then spouted out, “OMG! You hired a stripper?”
Needless to say, it took a while to regain composure and the attention of the class. But we finally had a Bible Study that I pray honored our Lord. Anyway – who says Christians can’t have fun. Yet, I really should have thought before I spoke.
Fast forward a bit, on Tuesday my helper came. I only contracted for 5 hours of work in an effort to just get ahead of the game and not deplete my bank account. As a surprise, the hired help brought 2 helpers with him so I thought, “This is going to be a slam-dunk in getting done.” I figured along with added man-power, they’d bring all the fancy steamer machines and be done in record time so I could paint the next day. Things were looking up!
Obviously, God had a few lessons in store so things didn’t go entirely according to my plan. You see, they never did bring in any heavy super-duper wallpaper stripping equipment. They armed themselves with spray bottles of warm water and scrappers. Heavens that is what I was doing! The end result was messy and incomplete. While they did get about ¾ of the paper down, they didn’t take any of the residual wallpaper backing off the wall. It’s nowhere near ready to paint. The stripping job wasn’t at all I what expected.
Needless to say, part of me was very disappointed because I thought they would complete the task that I so quickly started. Then again, I had put in a few days on my own and knew this was not a fun task that could be done quickly. My expectations were skewed and I still must finish the task to prepare the walls for paint. Paint doesn’t work well if the walls are not properly prepared.
This started me thinking about my heart and what gets stuck to it day by day. Things like the wallpaper of worldliness, the paint of pride, nail holes of nastiness and many other things too embarrassing to name. The canvas of my heart is no place a Holy God would want to paint. Yet, that is precisely His desire.
Great is His desire to paint the image of His Son on your heart and mine. However, our hearts are not prepared and the truth is – there is nothing we can do on our own to strip away all the sin that sticks to us like super glue. Fortunately, God has a remedy.
God sent His Son, Jesus, so die on a cross bridging the gap sin creates between Creator and His creation. In doing so, Jesus takes our sin and strips it from our beings and it is gone. That sin never comes back. Awesome, but what about my new sin? Once we accept His truth and enter into a personal relationship with the Son, the Father then gifts us with the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit’s job to convict us of sin as it arises and prompts us unto confession, thereby stripping our hearts, cleansing our hearts thoroughly and completely – preparing us for whatever God has in store next.
Now listen to this: The Holy Spirit doesn’t charge by the hour! Jesus already paid the price in full – for a lifetime of service, so to speak. The Holy Spirit doesn’t have union hours so He is accessible at anytime, for as long as you need Him. And the best thing is that He so completely does His job there is never anything left unfinished. He’ll come back time (really He never leaves) and time again as we have need. Truly, He does that and more.
If you need crud removed from the walls of your house, don’t come to me for a recommendation. Sorry – I felt let down by my workers. But if you need crud removed from the walls of your heart, I HIGHLY recommend the Holy Spirit of God – satisfaction guaranteed!