2008-10-08 / Religion

'Sparkling Clean'

Inspiration

I washed several cars in the past few days of various makes, models, sizes and shapes. But regardless of their differences in appearance and performance, they all had one thing in common- -a severe coating of love bugs! If you have attempted to remove the dried carcasses of love bugs from a vehicle, you know that it is no fun and requires considerable effort; the longer they are allowed to remain, the harder they are to remove. But once the job is successfully finished, the satisfaction of a shiny finish restored to its beauty makes it worth the effort.

We run into a lot of things every day that dirty up our spiritual lives. Like love bugs on the windshield of a car, sin makes us dirty in the sight of God. We usually do not intend for such sins to become attached to us, but they do. Left unattended to, our spiritual senses become dulled by the residue of sin festering in our hearts. The final outcome is a dangerous and undesirable condition of the soul.

In I Thessalonians 5:19, these words were given to the church: "Do not put out the Spirit's fire" (NIV). While it seems from the context that Paul was specifically addressing the exercise of spiritual gifts among the Thessalonian Christians (the gift of prophecy in particular), I do not think it distorts this verse to apply it more generally to our lives as a reminder of the importance of being careful that we do not allow anything to dampen or discourage the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Fire can be smothered from outside or from within. It can be snuffed out from the outside by water or from the inside through neglecting to add fuel when it is depleted. A good fire can go out if we simply neglect it. Similar things happen to us spiritually.

The fire of the Spirit is smothered in our lives when we fail to confess our sins and ask for Christ's forgiveness. Like a glaze of love bugs on a car, our souls can become infested with the ugly. The good news is that Christ is willing to make us sparkling clean if we will allow Him to.

The fire of the Spirit is smothered in our lives when we fail to allow Him to refuel us. Under those circumstances we become spiritually empty, unable to shine brightly for the glory of God. It is essential that we stay replenished spiritually by spending time in communion with God through reading His Word and putting It into practice.

Love bugs on a car generate an unsightly and dangerous situation, but once that ugly residue is removed, beauty is restored and the driver can see more clearly. God wants each of us to be cleansed from the sinful things that have become attached to us so that His Spirit can burn brightly within. So if your heart needs a good washing, call out to Jesus Christ; He wants to make you sparkling clean.

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