Our house is pretty “picked up.” We aren’t neat freaks in the neurotic sense, but we aren’t slobs either. The house is cleaned regularly and we typically put things back where they belong. That said, every once in a while we have to search out a bad smell in the refrigerator or move a couch only to discover hidden messes: an old piece of lettuce turning brown in the bottom of vegetable crisper or toys, a piece of pop-corn, and a family of dust-bunnies living under the couch. Sometimes no matter how careful you are in day-to-day life, things still get forgotten in a bottom drawer.
In John 13 we have a beautiful picture of how day-to-day living accumulates filth, as we see the Master kneeling down to wash the feet of His disciples. Peter, after first arguing with Jesus, asks for a full body-wash. Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean…” Like Peter we have been justified, once for all, but sometimes we pick up filth that is less apparent than dust covered feet!
A Jewish tradition, in preparation for Passover, was to deep clean the whole house to insure that no leaven was present. Paul uses that as a word picture for rooting out stubborn sin in the church (1 Cor 5:6-8), but it’s also a fitting illustration for cleaning out those hidden messes in our lives. In Psalm 139 David prays that God would search him and expose any hidden wickedness.
Praise God that “Justification” means God sees Christ’s righteousness, rather than our own sinfulness. Still in more than one letter to believers we are instructed to confess (agree with God about) our sin. Confession is part of the Lord’s model prayer and should be a routine in our devotional life. But I wonder if, just like dust bunnies under the couch, there is sometimes sin in our habits or thought-life that we overlook.
This issue came up this past Sunday in my class as we discussed communion. What does it mean to “eat and drink in an unworthy manner?” (1 Cor 11:29) Contextually it looks like it had to do with profaning the table itself by selfish conduct during the meal, so I can’t suggest that Paul meant we should sweep the leaven-cobwebs out before we partake. That said, unacknowledged sin (blind spots) will certainly impede our fellowship with the Father and our effectiveness in service.
I will be so bold as to ask if not prior to communion, then when? We all need to have a time of deep contemplation/confession as part of the warp and weave of our lives. Not to earn or secure our salvation, but to secure productive service to our Savior. Remember a boat doesn’t sink because it’s in the water; a boat sinks if the water gets into the boat! Checking for leaks needs to be routine in our lives!
Yours in His Service,