Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with patience the race marked out for us. (NIV)
I recently inherited a family heirloom: a pair of silver candlesticks and a pedestalled silver bowl my mother used to call a compote. I treasure these things because they were given to my parents by a grateful congregation my father served almost 100 years ago and because, when I was a small boy, it was my duty many times, especially at Christmas, to polish them. Out came the silver polish and the rags, and after much effort, they shone again as new. The same happened when they first came to me, tarnished by neglect over some time. However, I recently learned something new. I now find that, if I give them a good rub with a clean rag as soon as I see the shining silver become dull, I don't need any chemical polish. I can just use a little "elbow grease" instead. Frequent care saves a lot of work, and requires no special chemicals!
It struck me that this is much like the sin to which we are all prone. Get rid of it as soon as we notice it entering our minds, and it requires much less effort to keep ourselves clean from it. Neglect it, and it is hard to erase. By the great effort of Jesus' death — like the harsh chemical I once used — we were first made clean. Now we learn how to stay clean the easy way! We can delight Jesus and our heavenly Father by shining every day with the brilliance of newly-polished silver.
Prayer: Jesus, we rejoice in the cleansing power of Your precious blood. Send now Your Holy Spirit to help us, every moment of our lives, and to keep us clean from the stain of our besetting sins. Amen.