“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins [mind per the concordance], even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:7-8
“Are you turning it in?” the lady behind the returns counter called out to me as I stood in line at a big local store with a brand new, never used super-sized trash bin by my side.
“Yes I am,” I said. For the first time in decades, I had caved in and set up automatic trash pickup by a relatively new local company. Despite my ever efforts to keep my spending to a minimum so I can concentrate my bare-bones personal and ministry budget as best I can on loving and serving the Lord in ministry, I had signed up for trash pickup for sanitary and sanity reasons given the numerous special needs and senior rescued dogs in my care. I will spare you the details. Meanwhile, while I had found a low-cost trash service, I couldn’t justify the money I had impulsively spent on the trash bin. I would just use an old plastic crate instead.
As I stood waiting to make the return, I knew in my heart there was a devotional message in all this. The checkout lady had asked if I was “turning it in.” And I wonder this. How many of us are turning in our trash instead of letting it build up into a stinking ungodly mess? Oh, we’re so good at dumping our physical garbage in the trash bin and hauling it off to the dump or paying a company to pick it up, aren’t we? We have no trouble throwing out physical stuff that is smell, moldy, stinky, unsavory, unsanitary, junky, ugly, dirty, filthy, yucky, icky, unusable, dangerous, ancient, purposeless, etc., do we? Just take one good look at America’s landfills, so loaded up they are!
Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so we would repent, believe in Him as Lord, and turn our hearts and lives over to God and His ways, learning to grow in God’s image and to throw in the trash our wicked, sinful, ungodly, unholy, sickening, fleshly, unwholesome, impure thoughts and ways. The Bible is clear we need to clean up not just our external actions, but also to clean up our hearts and minds, learning to purify ourselves through repentance in love and obedience to the Lord!
Purifying ourselves for the Lord is about humbling ourselves before Him as we turn in the trash in our hearts and lives with true sorrow over our sins against Him, studying the Bible, and living according to His ways!
Are you turning in your trash? Dump your trash! Purify yourself for God!