Muck and gunk

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned

                                                        Romans 5:12

 

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
Philippians 4: 12

 

I was so excited when I came home from a business trip to San Francisco back in January to find that the city had given us a green bin for compost material that they would pick up every Friday with the recycling. You know how I am about recycling—I was downright giddy at the thought of organics recycling! They will allow you to put in lawn clippings, food scraps, food-soiled paper, teabags, coffee grounds, and the like. So I dutifully filled it with all of the stuff I was never able to before and rolled it to the curb every Thursday night. I virtually clicked my heels and squealed at the thought of banana peels and avocado pits no longer filling a landfill.

 

As the weeks progressed, however, I started seeing more flies hanging around my beloved compost bin, and it smelled horribly every time I’d lift its lid to deposit yet another food scrap or filled coffee filter. With each day closer to Friday, more maggots would appear on the walls, and more flies would vie for the opportunity to come into the house (I started finding myself yelling at family members to “shut the darn door or flies will come in”, while on the flip side finding glee when I was able to kill a fly with the whip of a kitchen towel. I know, it’s weird). Even after the bin was emptied, flies still remained.

 

I finally got up the gumption to clean the darn bin when the flies got to me. I used the garden hose to rinse out the dishwashing soap I’d poured in. The force of the water dislodged some, but not all, of the gunk that had accumulated at the bottom. The cart is almost 4 feet tall, and there was no way in God’s green earth I was going to crawl in it to clean it—simply wasn’t going to happen. The gunk that did come out and onto the lawn was smelly and gross, and attracted flies as it sat there in the hot sun. Blech. I finally got a long dowel rod, wrapped a rag around it, reached in with the cart on its side, and vigorously scrubbed the bottom and walls, extracting more grime and smelly gunk. After a few more rinses, I felt that it was as clean as it was going to be. I vowed to clean it more often so that gunk extraction was not a habitual thing for me. How dorky is it that I walk by my dear green bin and smile at the fact that it’s not buzzing with flies due to its fetid and decaying contents?

 

I’m sure you can see the lesson I’m going with here—who would’ve ever thought an organics recycling cart could be an object lesson? But a good one it makes! We, too, can end up like my cart if vestiges of sins and unforgiveness are left behind. We can present ourselves as sturdy and decent on the outside, and hope that others will overlook the presence of a few bad habits or personality traits that call attention, like the flies do, to the fact that appearances can deceive. We can even repress the hurts of the past, pushing them down into the depth of our hearts, not understanding that doing so allows them to fester and locks us into a prison of pain and regret. The enemy knows all of these things about us, and bullies us with our own shame. He may even lead us to believe that we cannot be cleansed from the muck and the gunk.

 

But, dear one, you can. You can be cleansed, relieved, and released, all by what Jesus did for you at the cross. You see, you aren’t hiding anything from our Heavenly Father, Who loves you more than you could possibly imagine, and Who sent His son to redeem you from the mire and from hell. You are chosen and beloved, a joint heir with Christ in God’s eternal promise. If you haven’t already, confess and repent of your sins, and ask Lord Jesus to be the Lord of your life. If you already have a personal relationship with Jesus, but are struggling with gunky issues that blind you to His love, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Seek pastoral counseling, or the professional services of a Christian counselor with whom you can muck out your past hurts and stunted growth. The Great I Am will heal you and help you.
 

Prayer Requests

  • For Miss LaVerne for her blood pressure concerns, and for others who are on our prayer list
  • Praise for the safe return of the youth and adults from the mission trip Sunday evening, and for all that they experienced
  • For the persecuted
  • For children who are in foster care and orphanages who have never known the love of someone else
  • For us to know His will for His church

 

Beloveds, the One Who formed you and gave you life loves you immeasurably. What a thrilling thought, yes?! 

Quotes

 

“When the Holy Spirit lays something on your heart, move without hesitation. You have no idea who may be depending on your immediate obedience.”

 

“God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling.”