I’m one of those people that ponders, questions and analyzes. If I’m being totally honest, I don’t always know what I’m pondering and I seldom come to any solid conclusions; but, this heart of mine often wanders to places where I simply sit and wait for the sky to open up. It feels like I’m on the verge of a monumental “aha” moment that hardly ever comes into focus.
And then God will choose the most mundane of things to give me a bit more clarity.
I doubt I’ll ever figure things out. In fact, I tend to think that truth is either found somewhere in between what two extremes think or, maybe more likely, somewhere outside the lines we’ve drawn all together. I’ve actually become comfortable with that ambiguous view of life. I find some comfort in knowing that none of us have it all figured out, not even the most learned among the human race. But what I do believe is that there is a loving God who does have it all figured out. And every once in a while, He gives us a glimpse of that truth.
As you’ve probably guessed, I had one of those moments on a recent morning. A smelly, dirty, mundane and tiring morning. The story isn’t pretty, and it’s embarrassing for someone whose parents taught her the importance of showing gratitude for what she’s been given by taking care of those things. But the truth is that my house wreaks! We love dogs but our dogs were once puppies that have since become older dogs. Both stages of life tend to be characterized by accidents that dogs prefer to have on carpet.
Did I say my house wreaks?
Well it does. Or did.
I’m slowly ripping up the carpet in each room and laying down a laminate floor. I say, “slowly” because it’s a tedious and exhausting task. Today I tackled the dogs’ room of choice. Let’s just say I couldn’t get the bucket of bleach and water in that room fast enough. But as I finished mopping the floor and looked over the room, I had this thought. “It’s done. It may not be pretty but the filth is gone, it doesn’t stink anymore and the floor is clean and ready to go.”
And right on cue…which is how I’ve come to describe God’s weird, unexpected and random timing…I got emotional.
I know. That’s like breathing for me. I hate that fact. But I’ve also come to realize that very often, when tears tease my eyes, God is wanting to say something to or through me. So, I dumped out the bucket of filthy water, grabbed some worship music, and took my small-bladdered dogs for a walk while I tried to make sense of the parting clouds.
So much came flooding in at once. But when my heart was still enough to listen, the truth that God and I came to was this profound revelation.
Holy lives matter.
Our lives can easily “look” pretty. They may even seem to be fulfilling a grand purpose. But, it’s all to easy (and common) for us to allow things in that don’t belong. Things that spoil the whole atmosphere. It’s still a life (or room) worth having and using but until the stench and filth is dealt with….it won’t be very inviting or effective for the purpose for which it was created.
I’ve written this blog post about ten times. Each time elaborating on what this revelation meant to me. But, it never seemed right. Maybe because God can only speak to us personally about the compromises that we allow into our lives. Conviction is very personal so I don’t feel right assuming this phrase will hit the same mark in you as it did in me.
What I do know is this. The Word of God says a lot about the importance of holy living.
It says a lot about the fact that God’s people are meant to be different than the world. (That was the whole point of that awkward idea of circumcision). It says it in so many ways and so often that I find myself regularly on my knees, pleading for more power. Power to live a life that resembles Christ’s life more than the life of this selfish, insecure person that I can so easily be. I fool myself into thinking I have it all together when, in reality, there’s a huge chasm between my life and the life that Christ died for me to live. He is the measure of my choices, not the world around me. God’s word is transformative…but only if and when I listen and obey.
This revelation isn’t a new and life-altering theological concept- yet- it’s a new and life-altering theological concept. At least I think that’s the point.
Without any more explanation than the fact that I looked at a ripped up, cleaned up and bare floor and was reminded that a raw, unadorned but purified life is precious and useful to a holy God, I leave you to analyze the thought yourself and I leave you with a few passages to ponder. But please understand that the truth of it will more than likely cause the Holy Spirit to point out some areas in your life that wreak. Or maybe they’re just starting to smell a little less like God and a little more like the world. Question yourself. Be willing to get dirty if you need to rip some things out. Even if they break your heart or cause you pain. Only then can He come in and create what he’s had in mind all along.
A beautiful and holy life.
(You’re invited to share any other passages in the comment section below) Jeremiah 9:23-24 Proverbs 13:3, 10 Romans 12:1-2, 12:9-21, 14:11-19
Ephesians 4:1-3, 4:11-5:16, 5:22-27, 6:1-3
Philippians 2:3-8, 4:4-9
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, 5:12-24
1 Timothy 3:3, 6:11 (Equal opportunity counts in holiness)
2 Timothy 2: 22-24
James 1:19-20, 3:9-10
1 Peter 1:15-16, 3:4, 3:15-16
2 Peter 1: 5-9