Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Little Brown Church In The Vale"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 7:21-23 – For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. (ESV)
We have had a blocked drain. As a school caretaker for awhile, back in the mists of time, one of the things that I had to do was unblock the drains. So, with my past experience and with my usual optimism and presumption, I set about sorting it out, because I usually can.
However, reality bites, and a couple of days later, after using the limited tools at my disposal, I decided that this was beyond my capacity to deliver. There were no inspection chambers on my property to get access for the use of rods. So, despite my best efforts, there was nothing that I could do.
Reluctantly, I admitted defeat and called in the experts, a hard admission and a significant cost. I think that Caroline was surprised that I was prepared to do it without more effort.
I prayed that the right people would come and sort this situation out for us. I phoned a company based near where I live, and by the end of the day, they arrived and resolved the issues in a matter of minutes.
They found the inspection hatch which was situated under a bush on my neighbour's property. Then, they cleared it out with their specialist equipment and removed the roots that had invaded and obstructed the channel's flow to the main drain.
It's funny how these things come about, because I came back from a prayer meeting the following morning, having worshipped and praised and listened, and I sensed that something needed to be thought and written.
Of course, I thought of how God takes away our sin, how we are unable to do that ourselves, and how we have to call in the specialist, Jesus, who has the tools for the job, who has paid the price and removes our sin. But no, although true, this was not what God wanted.
What I heard was that the roots in the chamber were a representation of my pride in thinking that I can do everything, not just clearing drains. Confidence is good, but rebellious, self-reliant pride can be a sin. It seems that this was not helping my prayer life, because my self-assurance was blocking the move of the Holy Spirit in flowing through me to keep my channels fresh and flowing, to be able to hear Him for myself and others.
Let's be careful about what we take pride in, because pride can come before a fall. It can also be a drain and really mess up the efficacy of our prayer life, if first we do not allow Jesus in to do something about it.
So, with me, today, let us get down on our knees, metaphorically, or if possible, literally, and say:
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know all things, and everything comes from You. Without You we are nothing but a clanging bell and hard-hearted. Send Your Holy Spirit to flow through us today and soften our hearts. Forgive us our presumptions, pride, and other sins, and show us how we can be more available to You and those we serve, to hear Your Word better in us, as we bow the knee to our God, Saviour, and Redeemer. Amen.