Devotion for the Week...
I am the janitor for our church, a fact which will amuse those of you who have previously read my thoughts on cleaning. We are a small town church, so it's not a big building, and vacuuming the main sanctuary takes me about 45 minutes. In the winter, the parking lot sometimes becomes a sheet of ice and a truck comes to coat it with sand to make it safer for people to drive and walk on. There is a certain satisfaction in vacuuming those weeks, when there is the constant rattle of tiny grains of sand being sucked up by the vacuum. At this time of year, though, there isn't much dirt on the floor, so it sometimes feels like I don't even need to vacuum.
Of course, I do still need to vacuum. Even if I can't see or hear it, I know there is dust on the floor. If I decided not to bother vacuuming for a few weeks, the dust and dirt would eventually become visible. I was thinking about this while vacuuming the church last week and the thought of cleaning before things actually look dirty kept circling around in my mind, along with the thought, "That's how we're supposed to be spiritually." We're never supposed to let ourselves get so dirty spiritually that the dirt piles up. The 'dirt' of course, is sin. We all sin, even after we've accepted Jesus into our lives, but "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). When we confess, He makes us clean again.
I think it was Chuck Swindoll of Insight for Living who said, "Keep short accounts with God." In other words, don't let the sins pile up. When you do wrong, confess it. Immediately. Don't wait until next week, adding another layer of dust and dirt to your spirit.
Most weeks, I could probably walk in the door of the church sanctuary, look quickly at the floor and declare it clean enough to not need vacuuming. Likewise, we may look quickly at our lives and think there's nothing there that needs to be confessed, no spiritual dirt that needs to be cleaned up. The fact is, though, I don't think I've ever vacuumed that entire floor
without picking up at least one thing I could hear rattle its way into
the vacuum. The dirt is there, even if I can't see it with just a quick glance. Is there spiritual dirt we don't see when we only give our lives a quick glance?
Psalm 139: 23,24 says, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Asking God to search you certainly sounds like it would bring about more than a quick glance, doesn't it? That can be a scary prospect for those of us who like to think we're 'good people', who do our best to live right. But if we want to keep ourselves from getting spiritually dirty, we need to deal with sin right away, before it builds up. Truly asking Him to search us, to find 'any offensive way' in us, would reveal every little bit of spiritual dirt lurking in our lives. Once that dirt is found, of course, it can then be confessed and removed.
As janitor, it's my job to keep the church clean, not to wait until the dirt is visible before I deal with it. As Christians, we need to keep ourselves spiritually clean by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He reveals our sinfulness, and then confessing those sins right away, rather than waiting for them to pile up.