This morning “it” hit me. As a baptized Christian, the Holy Spirit is within me. I have been given a great responsibility and I have squandered it. Like a cockroach wandering around an empty apartment, I’ve been searching for sustenance, but it’s been there in front of me all along.
I own at least seven different Bibles, all varying translations. I own Bible study guides, daily reading guides, “shortcut through the Gospels” guides – I have everything I need and more to make changes to my life right now, today. There is absolutely no reason to wait one more minute before speaking Life. So what is the problem?
The problem is that I’ve allowed stuff to get in the way and I’ve looked around me at what is different from everyone else, and I’ve used that as an excuse to remain dormant in some areas of my life. Avoiding change doesn’t postpone the inevitable. It only invites ruin and rot to overcome our lives.
Consider a room in your home, perhaps the living room – what would happen if you never cleaned that room, even though it was used by every member of your family daily? You sit on the furniture, watch television, drink a refreshing glass of water, read the newspaper, pet the dog or cat, play board games with the children, conduct science experiments on the coffee table, store magazines and reading material in there – you know, daily living kind of stuff. If you never clean up or conduct routine maintenance, that room is going to develop a mighty terrible stench. Dirty dishes and food items will attract pests, the pet hair will build up, the magazines and newspapers will overtake the space – it will be cluttered and unusable for a time and will no longer be a blessing to you, your family or anyone who passes by it. It will be a room you will be ashamed to call your own.
Our hearts can be a bit like that from time to time and so can our thoughts and our actions. Sometimes we get so busy living and playing and moving around that we forget to stop and take stock of our minds, bodies, and spiritual lives. We allow sin, frustrations, hurt, anger, selfishness and greed to build up into an unholy stench that causes others to walk away from us. We hurt others with our inconsistencies and unwillingness to clean up our own side of the street, so to speak. Sometimes we can become so busy looking at everyone else’s living rooms, that we overlook our own. Before we know it, we’re that cockroach running around a room looking for sustenance, but there is none. The room is empty, because we’ve not allowed Jesus to fill it up. If we do find the one mirror in the room, when we look at ourselves, we have no recollection of who that person in the mirror even is. We’ve forgotten that we’re made to be good and do good and to love others. Instead, we’ve allowed ourselves to morph into something despicable and unrecognizable, even to our own self.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It was never meant to be this way. We were made in God’s image and we were made to be good. God has given a choice, some parameters and guidelines and it’s up to us to choose to follow that. Jesus has already called us to Him. Look around, He’s already at work in your life. No matter where you are, (or where I am!) God has already sent His people into your life. He’s already equipped you with some things to continue the good work He’s begun in you. He has no intention of leaving you where He found you. That is why these people and these tools are in your life right now. God loves you. Is the feeling mutual?
Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 18:3 (NLT)
Children are by nature sweet, innocent, loving, kind, helpful, inquisitive, vulnerable, trusting, gentle, curious, and are little sponges, soaking everything up. Children love everyone, even abusive parents, homeless, people of all colors, shapes and sizes. Children look at the world and see wonder and excitement. When someone teaches them, they’re eager to learn and to imitate those actions, thoughts, and words. They want to make the sick feel better and comfort the lame. They don’t understand why something is unattainable. To them, everything is possible, especially peace and restoration in the face of ruin. All people should eat, have a safe place to sleep and have someone to love them. Children understand this, and yet it’s something that we forget as we grow older and busier and more consumed with stuff. We move further away from a pure, all-consuming, trusting faith, and begin looking at our Savior as though He is forcing us to join Him up there on the cross to be beaten, ridiculed, and murdered. He’s not.
The price has already been paid. We’ve already been given what we need to get started making changes in our lives today. We have an Advocate who has fought the enemy and won. We have the power to choose Life now, today. The question is, can we humble ourselves and become like little children in order to grasp that power? Or will we deny it, and live into our selfish desires?