I tackled a DIY paint project this week. It’s been muscle-aching stuff. Up and down squats, then on my knees, then contorting body parts to get to those hard to reach places. At one point I felt like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel as I lay on my back trying to get it just right – well, maybe Michelangelo is a bit of a stretch … okay … an enormous stretch, but I did lay on my back and I did have a paintbrush in hand.
The hardest part for me was after the creative process each day. I had to wash the paintbrushes. Arms aching all the way into my fingernails, I stood over a sink watching the water dilute the color off the fibers and down the plughole. Too tired to move I just stared at the stubborn bits that would not come off the brush with water alone. I turned the water flow harder. Still the paint stuck on the brush. Then I flipped the button that changed the water flow into a shower and all I got for my trouble was wet. I had to reach up (ouch) to a shelf, push the soap pump (another ouch) then work the soap into the brush, aching arms alarmed and shouting in protest. Miracle of miracles! Within the lather was a squelching and foaming color, working its way off the bristles. Simple soap. Powerful soap. As the stained suds slipped down the drain and my brush became clean, I had a knee-bending moment with an awesome God. “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
There is sin that seems to stick to me like paint on a brush. Sin that is not overt and obvious to others or to myself.
- The ones that I have dubbed a part of my “personality”.
- The ones I make excuses for.
- The ones I protect deep in the bristles of my life.
- Fear (the sin of doubt). When I am afraid, I doubt God’s presence – I have forgotten that “the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
- Anxiety (the sin of distrust). When I am anxious, I distrust God and have forgotten “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
- Discontent (the sin of ingratitude). When I am discontent I am ungrateful for the many blessings in my life and have forgotten to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
We all have sin in our life that we protect with excuses.
The cleansing that we need is not a superficial job – we can’t just let any old water run over these sins. Self-help books and talk show hosts can’t help us here.
- We have to be washed with the only cleansing agent for sin – the blood of Jesus. *
- Remember that the blood of Jesus is a free cleansing agent. We can’t buy it nor can we earn it. It has been freely given.
- Even though we can’t buy or earn it – this washing doesn’t just happen. It takes something from us – we have to live in God’s light. (But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.)
- Some ideas for “living in the light” – Read scripture daily. Memorize scripture. Think deeply about these scriptures and how they apply to you. Pray sincerely every day. Read books that will help you better understand God and His ways.
- Daily we have to find God’s light (His word for us) and daily we must choose to walk in it.
- And sometimes it hurts. After life has left us with aching muscles, it hurts to reach into those deep crevices with light and blood and washing. But if we want to get past the superficial and make real and lasting change, it is necessary.
“… just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5: 25-27)
* If you want to find out more about why the blood of Jesus is needed you may find this helpful.