Pastor Brandon 'b-side' Alvillar
Dealing With A Dirty House
Before we get started, let me just state MY DISCLAIMER:
I’m not a packrat. In fact, right now, I’m not talking about a dirty house, in the sense of having junk all over the place like Homer up there. I’m actually talking about dust! If your house is cooled by ceiling fans, you probably know EXACTLY what I’m talking about here! The dust where I lived, was annoying, especially in the summer months when the ceiling fans are on 24/7. At this point in my life, living where I did for as long as I was, you’d think that “dusting” would be something that I just accept as a normal part of life. I got to tell you though – I HATE IT!
The thing that bothers me most about it, is that, I don’t really understand where dust comes from, and how it amasses so fast in our house. Again, our house wasn’t dirty. It was cluttered (we have kids), but we’re not hoarders or anything like that. The issue that bothers me the most about dust, is how it affected our ministry workspace. Our ministry focuses on digital communication. We do a podcast, produce music, and we assemble DJ mixes. We do a ton of photography. There’s one thing that all of these things have in common – expensive equipment! The dust bothers me, because it seems like it’s somehow attracted to our gear.
I try to be a good steward and take care of our stuff, so I was dusting all the time, trying to protect the inner working parts of the equipment from getting bad stuff inside, so that our tools work right. A while back, while I was bitter about dusting again, I actually realized that the LORD was showing me a pretty important spiritual principle through that mundane exercise.
Did you know that the Bible says we should be dusting our souls?
Well, it doesn’t say that exactly, but hear me out on this...
Think about how dust works in real life. It starts as something that’s there, but you don’t really notice it at first. When you finally notice it, the dust is usually piled up as a layer that can change the look and texture of whatever it’s piled on. If that doesn’t get addressed, that thin layer of dust, can quickly become a big glob of fuzzy dirt, balling up into a whole new substance. Yuck!
Now think about that concept in a spiritual sense, as it relates to sin. The Bible teaches that sin begins in the heart. This means that, sin isn’t just about the things we do, or don’t do. It’s an attitude that’s contrary to God. So, like dust, it's always there, but for a time, seems hidden. If it’s not addressed, the attitude can fester a lot like dust starts to pile up. Then, like with dust, if this goes unaddressed, sin can get really dirty, really fast, morphing into a pile of junk that looks gross, and pollutes the whole environment! That’s how the Bible teaches that sin works…
That begs the question then: How do we “dust” our souls, to prevent this build up?
Here’s what the Bible teaches:
According to Hebrews 4:12, the Word of God is the only source that can see the invisible attitude within our hearts, that ultimately becomes sinful conduct. The Word of God pierces the soul by convicting us of the deep-rooted problems that are contrary to God. The Word is the way that God exposes the truth of our souls, showing us the problem areas through convictions, pointing us to Jesus and His righteousness for forgiveness. If we want to “dust” our souls, we have to know the areas of our lives that are “dirty.” The Word of God, and the convictions that come from it, are the key to seeing those things BEFORE they become really big issues.
In John Chapter 13, Jesus washed His disciple’s feet, then told them to follow that example. When Jesus gave that command, He wasn’t just talking about water and dirty feet. He was speaking spiritually, using the common practice of bathing and foot-washing, as an example. Back then, there were dirt floors everywhere. When you took a bath, you got out of the water, and walked on dirt. Your body was clean, but your feet would get dirty again quickly. Jesus’ point was, His crucifixion would be like taking a full bath. It would fully cleanse the souls of those who believe, in order to make them clean in the sight of the Father. BUT, so long as we’re walking around on this planet, we’re going to pick up some dirt on our feet. Our souls are covered by Jesus’ blood, but our lives are still going to be influenced by dirty and corrupt things. So, we need to do like Jesus did – wash each other’s feet.
This means that, we need to be connected to each other in fellowship, where we are humbly invested into the spiritual health of others. Instead of focusing on ourselves, we need to understand the spiritual needs of others WHILE ALSO, humbly accepting that we need help from others too. When the Word exposes areas in our lives that are “dirty,” we need to trust that the LORD has given us tools to help stay clean. The standard that Jesus set, is seen in John Chapter 13. We need to connect with each other, being honest with each other about our issues, humbly seeking, accepting, and offering help to aid the soul.
That’s not to say that we need to put all of our dirty laundry out there. We do need to be transparent though. We shouldn’t be putting up fronts, like everything in our lives is just fine. How can we be “good” if we’re still living in a fallen and corrupted world? How can we be “okay” if we’re still sinners by nature? In order to “dust our souls,” we need to accept the truth that the Word reveals when it’s convicting us about our issues. Then, we need to seek the help the LORD provides through His people. We need to help each other, but also be willing to receive help. That takes humility…
This means that, “dusting our souls,” really resembles the type of daily self-denial and repentance that Jesus described in Luke 9:23-36. The important point to make note of in the sense of “dusting,” is that the words that Jesus spoke in Luke Chapter 9, should reflect our efforts to PROACTIVELY deal with our sin. If you wait for dust to pile up before you address it, that dust has been polluting the environment for a long time already. The same is true of sin.
Here are some things the Bible teaches to help us manage this issue practically:
TIP #1: We need to know that sin is an issue that requires constant care and washing, the way Jesus exemplified.
TIP #2: We need to die to ourselves DAILY to approach this issue in a proactive manner.
TIP #3: We need to seek the Word, accepting the convictions that come from it.
TIP #4: We need to seek the body of Christ in fellowship, for help BEFORE our issues boil over.
The LORD has given us the tools, to where we don’t have to be responsive AFTER sin has brought us shame and/or pain. We can manage those issues much better, if we’re aware that, like dust, sin will just keep coming to pile up, unless we’re constantly cleaning, no matter how much we might hate it. It’s a necessary chore…
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