Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Shall We Gather At The River"1 (Lyrics)
I bought a new-to-me summer home a few months ago. It has fourteen Venetian blinds! I love being able to look out all those windows, but cleaning the blinds has become a bigger job than I had anticipated. I don't think that they've been washed in years. The previous owners must have hoped that they'd clean themselves somehow. Some slats have brown stains, like someone dashed a cup of coffee at the window. Some are just dusty, but it's dust that's been there for a while.
My neighbour suggested using sanitizing wipes, and they're doing the job, but it's tedious. Each blind has at least three sections, and each slat in each section has to be wiped several times. Some slats need more work than others, and the cords get in the way. I miss some spots and have to redo some of the slats. When I get down to the bottom, I'm tempted to ignore those slats, as they'll be behind the furniture and won't be seen.
While cleaning, I'm thinking about the similarity of this process to the ways that we try to deal with the sin in our lives. Some of our sins have been around for months or years, so we ignore them, hoping that they'll resolve themselves, but the stain on our lives is still there. Some sins seem insignificant; we think that they're nothing to worry about, so we don't bother to confess them. Some sins seem like too much work to deal with, so we mentally set them aside, hoping that they'll quietly go away.
But sometimes, we get our spiritual sanitizing wipes, thinking that we can clean up our lives on our own. Then, we discover how much work that is. We mentally wipe over them again and again, but they persistently pop up in our lives and in our thoughts, draining our energy and affecting our relationship with Jesus and others.
Psalm 32:3-4a,5 – When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. … and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (NIV)
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)
If we've confessed our faith in Jesus Christ and accepted His salvation, our sins have been forgiven. We've been washed in His precious blood; Christ has forever taken away our sins. Nevertheless, we still need to go to Him daily in confession. If we don't, like children who hide something that they've done from their parents, we'll begin to feel distant from Him; our fellowship with Him will be broken.
If you have not made the decision to accept His salvation, don't delay. Come to Him now, for "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Acts 2:21 NIV)
Prayer: Father, we want our lives to be clean and free from spiritual stains. Help us to turn to You daily, accepting Your forgiveness and grace for our lives. Amen.