1 Thessalonians 4:7 – For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. (KJV)
On Monday morning, I took our seven-year-old car to the dealer for a "Drive Clean" test, which is a requirement every two years in Ontario prior to renewal of our vehicle permit. This test was first implemented in Toronto — the goal being to improve our air quality by gauging noxious emissions and removing from our highways those cars that failed to make the grade. In hot weather, our air is sometimes polluted with "smog", a blend of smoke and fog seen in highly populated or industrial areas. I was a little nervous, although I thought our programme of regular vehicle maintenance should ensure a "Pass". (It did!)
The test was to take about an hour, so I decided to wait. I had not thought to bring reading material, so I was left with the choice of watching television in the waiting room or sitting outside. I tend to take every opportunity to sit quietly and reflect, so I sat on a stone by the fence — less than an ideal location, what with noise and fumes as commuters dealt with the morning rush hour traffic.
I was thinking back to a truly moving worship and healing service held in our church just the evening before, and it occurred to me that it would be worthwhile to check our own personal standards and spiritual integrity regularly, according to our heavenly Father's "Drive Clean" test — the goal being to help us to stay clear of the "smog" of unholy thoughts, words, and actions. Just as the vehicle emissions test is for our long-term benefit, no less so is the requirement for us to live a life that is pure and honest, with unimpaired moral principles. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matthew 12:34 KJV). The Bible says that when we go to be with the Lord we will have to account for every careless word we have spoken. We can choose to speak from hearts of anger, deception, and hatred, or to speak of love, joy, and peace. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:31-32 KJV).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that we will pass Your "Drive Clean" integrity test today and every day. You know the very secrets of our hearts. Help us to live a life free of sin, and speak to us loudly whenever there is a temptation to say something or do something that is not pleasing to You. Teach us the depth of Your forgiveness, O Lord, so that we can be more freely forgiving of others. Enable us to come before You to that place of complete forgiveness — that place of joy. Help us to understand that true happiness and joy can be found only in You. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.