My son and I recently went to northern Arizona for my birthday. The scenery was incredible. One morning, we ventured a few miles into Utah and took a side road labelled "Paria Canyon Movie Set". It turned into a five-mile downhill journey on a very dusty road — almost a four-wheel-drive trip — twisty, winding, and dirty, but worth it: incredible red-rock scenery, ending in a green meadow with traces of the former community and western movie set.
That night, I attempted to wipe down my car, but it wasn't until I arrived home that I realized just how much dirt had invaded every nook and cranny: in cracks behind doors and hatches, under the seats, all over the dash — everywhere. It took an hour to vacuum and wipe, but later, I still found spots that I'd missed.
Isn't that just like our lives! We get involved in a sin, any sin, and don't realize until much later how it has sinuously invaded our lives. It can be something as "simple" as a food addiction (mine is chocolate!) or as complicated as a lifestyle that is not pleasing to God. Just as my son and I descended deeper and deeper into that canyon, we can descend deeper and deeper into whatever that sin entails until it's extremely difficult to eradicate it.
There's a marvellous pair of words that we find throughout the Bible to give us hope when we are embroiled in guilt and grief over our sin — But God:
Romans 5:7-8 – Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)
A search of the Bible yields 66 verses that include those two words. It's underlined more than a few times in my Bible! I encourage you to do your own search and see how one of these Scriptures can encourage you. Here is another of those 66:
Genesis 50:20 – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (NIV)
God can forgive and rescue us from our sins and even use them to help others in the future. I imagine that all of us can think of a situation in our past that has allowed us to minister to others. But God: how can we let that truth, rather than the dirt and filth of sin, invade our lives?
Hebrews 12:1a – 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. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, help us to consider all the marvellous ways that You work in our lives. Help us to look to You to cleanse the dirt and filth of our sin and lead us into a life more honouring to You. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "I Waited For The Lord My God" (Lyrics)