~My husband is the only person I know who uses a lint roller on the insides of his pockets. I caught him doing it this morning. It just troubles him to have all that build-up in there. He asked me with his face wrinkled in disgust, “What is it? And where does it come from?” I had just finished saying to him that I was about to go feel bad about myself again as I make my way through my current Bible study. My trouble with the content of God’s teaching is similar to my husband’s lint quandary: the more I learn about what God desires for me and from me, the more aware I am of deep pockets of crud that exist well-hidden in my soul. I don’t know where it came from but now that I’m aware of its presence, I have to deal with it.
There are some similarities in the solution to pocket lint and soul crud, beginning, of course, with awareness. God has made me aware of some areas of my life that need a closer look, so, like a pocket, I have to reach in to those areas and turn them inside out to get an idea of just what’s hiding in there. This is the disgusting part. The part that makes you wrinkle your nose and curl your lip and feel really bad about your housekeeping. While pocket lint is indeed gross, it’s mostly harmless. Sin, however, will kill you (or ruin the life you’ve been given on this side of eternity and steal your eternal reward…but who’s splitting hairs??). You will be shocked speechless when God gives you eyes to see what’s been amassing in the dark while you have been blissfully going about your business unaware.
Step two involves picking out the big chunks: the stuff that has glommed together at the seams and formed a clot that clings to the corners. It sometimes becomes enmeshed with the fibers of the cloth to the point where it has to be trimmed off with scissors. This stuff has been here awhile, folks! It’s about time you took a peek in here! In a pocket, this clump is no big deal, but when you’ve got to surgically remove sin that has accumulated, gathered reinforcements, and become enmeshed in your life – woven into the very fabric of your being – it can be very painful to remove, and one quick snip is usually not enough to handle it effectively. It may be necessary to air that laundry in public to get some accountability. Let that pocket hang out with its insides showing. That’s a nice way of saying that you need to get someone else’s eyes on your ugliness. Someone who will tell you how ugly it is. This is the only way to prevent further buildup in that area.
Now, you could pick at what’s left and deal with it one speck at a time like you would if you just had a few flecks of fluff on your shirt, but there’s a lot of lint in here. You couldn’t get it all if you picked at it for a year, and in the meantime, more would collect. This is the nature of sin. There’s a bunch of it, lots of ‘little stuff’, and it seems to repopulate while we’re busy dealing with what was there when we first looked. We need something more effective than our own ability to single out the miniscule specks of buildup. We need a savior. He is the only answer to the problem of sin.
We are not in the habit of examining the hidden places of our lives, as we should. I laugh at my husband because he turns his pockets inside out to clean them, but what I should do is thank him for the great example. The more we look at those places we least expect to find crud build up, the more aware we are of the fact that sin is unconquerable. No matter how hard we ARE TRYING to conquer it, there will always be stuff in the corners that we don’t see, or thought we could live with, or just ignored – out of sight out of mind. While it may be out of our sight, out of our mind, it is never hidden from God. We need a more effective remedy. We need Jesus.
I’m sorry, Lord, to equate you with so common a household tool as a lint-roller, but I am grateful beyond words that you are effective against the crud in my life. In one giant swipe, you made it stick to yourself and you took it all away. Please remind me to turn things inside out once in a while and take care of what I can, but in recognizing the futility of my efforts, to praise you with all I have. You have made me clean in the inmost places.