Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Take Time To Be Holy"1 (Lyrics)
While I was using a bar of my homemade goat soap, I was once again amazed at how such a lovely, gentle cleansing agent comes forth from using the caustic substance, lye, to produce it.
To make the soap, I add a considerable amount of lye crystals to slushy goat's milk. The lye causes the temperature of the cold milk to soar up to 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it has cooled down to a certain temperature, four different types of oil, beeswax, and honey heated to the same temperature are combined with the lye and the milk. The end product, a beautiful soap, is ready to use in six weeks' time.
Sodium hydroxide lye is an essential component in the soap-making reaction because its hydroxide ion combines with the oil and fat to form the soap. A chemical change involving the lye must happen in order to create soap. Even though, on its own, lye burns and corrodes, when mixed appropriately with oils, it becomes an amazing cleansing product.
Likewise, over the years, I have discovered that God's truth, as revealed through His Word and the power of His Holy Spirit, can so effectively pinpoint areas of sin in my life that I feel like I have been burned — with shame and remorse, guilt and sorrow. At the same time, however, the oil of His gracious love, forgiveness, kindness, grace, and mercy through Jesus Christ, mixed with the burning truth of His Word, becomes a gentle and beautiful cleansing agent in my life.
Without lye, there is no soap. And without the burning truth of God's Word to convict and convince us of the reality of our sin, there can be no recognition, confession, and repentance of our sin, all actions that are necessary to bring us back into good standing with the One who loves us so.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)
Today, may each of us allow the burning truth of God's Word, plus the oil of His love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and grace, through Jesus Christ, be the purifying soap that cleanses us from the inside out.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the burning truth of Your Word that is faithful to convict and convince us of our sin. May we be a people of openness and honesty before You, that our lives may reflect the goodness of Your truth, mercy, love, kindness, and grace to the world around us. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.