Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dirty Mops & Tattered Towels

I've been cleaning my floor with a dirty mop. Perhaps I should say 'trying to clean' since a dirty mop won't really get my floor very clean. Oh, sure, I rinse the mop out and use clean wash water, but after so many uses, the mop just can't do the job anymore. It's time for replacement.

As I mopped the floor using my new mop head for the first time, I felt a surge of pleasure as I swished the sponge over the tiles. Now this was more like it! It spurred me on to more cleaning and by days end the house fairly gleamed from my endeavors.

Later that night, after I walked across my shiny clean floor in my bare feet, I was suddenly struck with a comparison that could only have been the Holy Spirit speaking; my prayer life was starting to resemble a dirty worn out mop.

How many times have I gone to the Lord in prayer only to feel like my words were hitting a ceiling? How many times had I found myself struggling to even offer up a prayer?
More times than I liked to admit.... And more importantly, WHY?

In Psalm 66 we read, "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."  In Isaiah 59.2 it says: "It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore."

Conviction grabbed my heart.

Graciously, the Holy Spirit then brought to my mind the beautiful promise of 1 John 1:9. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Now granted, when Christ died for us, the penalty for sin was paid once and for all. But like my mop, my life was picking up grime and filth and was taking on more than it was wringing out. There were some things that needed to be dealt with and confessing my wrong doing was the first step in being restored.

Why had I not noticed how ragged and dirty the old mop had gotten and replaced it before this? I can shake my head is puzzlement but I know this is often the case with many things. We stop really 'seeing' something when we are looking at it all the time. I hadn't noticed how tattered my dishtowels had gotten until my husband was helping me clean up after dinner one night and commented on their ratty condition. "Buy some new ones!" he insisted, "These belong in the rag pile."

Sometimes it takes another person to show us what is wrong with something. Sometimes that comes through a spouse or a friend; sometimes it happens as we read God's word or, as my mopping experience showed, a whisper in my heart from the Holy Spirit.

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