Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Clean Sweep

It was an exciting time! My first job assignment at the factory where my uncle was president included the sweeping of the wide aisles lined with pallets of product piled high. I was a high school student in Toronto and ready to start my first job. The job was simple in nature but massive in its scope as I tried to envision all of these wide aisles as clean and empty of anything that could prevent the free flow of product and machines.

It was obvious that workers inclined to be lazy could attempt to avoid hard work and take a sort-cut by sweeping some of the dirt under shelving units or stationery machines. However, I was eager to impress my department supervisor and co-workers so that I could be accepted as one of them. I worked hard to clean – exposing and removing every speck of dirt and grime that I could find. A completed task in relatively short time led to other assignments until I was receiving and shipping, even loading steel coils and other products by fork-lift truck onto boxcars of trains and waiting trucks. But, all of this started when I determined to not cover up the mess but expose and remove it as quickly as possible!

There is no short-cut to physical or spiritual cleaning! All spiritual dirt or sin must be exposed and removed to please God. Sin comes out of our hearts (Luke 7:20-23). Just as a company operates effectively when all dirt and trash is removed, a church or an individual person will live with fruitfulness, fulfillment, and with a transformative impact on others when he or she admits, exposes, and rejects all sin. This is possible each and every day with the help of God.

If you do not deal like this with sin in your life, both you and others around you will suffer unnecessary pain, frustration, and spiritual dry-ness. Your sin or mine can hinder or prevent God’s work in our whole church. Psalm 32 describes the awful struggles experienced by King David when he had covered up his sin and tried to live as if everything were all right. Finally, he admitted his sin; confessed it to God, and rejected ALL of his sin so that He might be totally clean inside. I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity” (Psalm 32:5a). The story of Acts 5:1-11 in the Bible describes how one couple — Ananias and Sapphira --- tried to hide their real motives so that they could impress people in the church rather than pleasing God. They were dishonest with their church family and therefore dishonest with God. That is a dangerous thing.

To avoid or remove some very serious struggles and problems in your life and to help revitalize our church, we must come completely clean before God and His people. Heed the warning of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 11:30-32. The Lord Jesus reminds us that we cannot worship pleasing to God until we express forgiveness and reconcile ourselves to one another. Are you angry, upset, or envious of someone else in our church or elsewhere? If you are, I urge you to meet with the other person or with the pastor as soon as you can. Meet in an attitude of love, humility and a desire to reconcile and honor God. Then, Jesus says, you can “…come and offer your gift…” (to God) Matthew 5:23-24.

In God’s sight, that will be a clean sweep!

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