1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV)
I have bought a second-hand car recently. When I put my foot on the accelerator, the engine just died. Aarrgh! The garage salesperson assured me that it would be fixed. They also promised to repair any faults over the next year.
When I had had the car all of twenty-four hours, it happened again while I was on my way home on the motorway. It had a problem with an oxygen sensor in the exhaust pipe. According to the chief mechanic, the previous owner had been using cheap petrol that did not contain the detergents needed to keep the sensor clean, which other proprietary brands had as an ingredient. Consequently, over time, the oxygen sensor had become clogged. In the car's handbook, it clearly states that, because of the engine's advanced sensors, standard petrol without the additives just would not do.
As I sat down to write a devotional today, this experience just pushed its way to the forefront. Daily I am tempted to engage in the thoughts, if not the actions, of the world that seems to appeal to my fleshly nature. A little concession here, a little compromise there, a big fat lie — it won't hurt; no real harm done; and so it goes on.
Like my car, after the passage of time, our spiritual sensors become clogged up and are rendered useless by all this giving in to the world's easy-way-out options that seem to cost us less in the short-term but cost us big time in the longer view.
I believe that Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, works like a detergent through our lives to clean off the dirt and self-centredness by which non-heavenly influences have daily attempted to ingrain themselves. The manual says: be honest and put Jesus first.
Prayer: Lord, yet again we come to You, sheepish and fallen, trusting not in who we are but in Your manifold grace. Lord, cleanse us and renew our hearts so that we find You there at the point of need in the world into which we go today. Amen.