I consider myself to be a very clean person. I don’t like having to do work that is dirty, and I don’t like having to manage gross stuff, such as trash. But though I like to be clean and I want my children to clean up after themselves, I cannot yet teach my children to be as clean as they could be. They are simply not old enough to understand the difference between things that are trash and things that are not. I’ve had to watch in disgust several times as one of my children find a bright colored piece of trash at the park or in the yard and decide to reach down, pick it up, and attempt to shove it into their mouths. Thankfully, once you get to a certain age that temptation goes away.
Even though you and I would not pick up trash for fun, there is a sort of trash that we do allow into our lives, possibly even on a regular basis. It’s called sin. It can start a little at a time. We think there’s nothing wrong with a tiny bit of sin hanging around, but as that sin grows it begins to stink more and more. As trash collects, it becomes more obvious and more unbearable. To deal with trash in a house, we cram it into a trashcan under the sink or in the pantry. To deal with sin in our lives, we do the same thing—we hide it out of sight and out of mind. We try to make it look to everyone else like it’s not there, but the problem is that after a little while the smell in our lives is obvious.
Be Mature in Your Thinking
Now, a reasonable adult knows that it’s time to take out the trash once that smell starts making itself known. Why don’t we do the same thing in our spiritual lives when it comes to sin? I believe it’s because we are acting like spiritual children. The same way a small child cannot recognize trash when they see it, if we are operating as spiritual children then we refuse to acknowledge the trash in our spirit even when we notice the smell leaking into other areas of life.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking: yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.”
It’s time that we start examining ourselves through a lens of spiritual maturity. Is this small sin that I’ve allowed in my life going to hurt me in the long run? Is there a better option? The truth is that there is a better option, and that is to allow the Lord to forgive and cover that sin before it grows.
I believe it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of belief that says, you’re just going to have to live with that sin. Let me tell you today: that is a lie. As you seek God, you can trust Him to break those bonds of sin through the power of the cross, and as you grow in your maturity in Christ you can begin to recognize and speak God’s Word against temptation.
Dwell on The Word
To be able to speak God’s Word into the circumstances in our lives, we first need to read and meditate on it. We need to pray and trust that God is using it to shape who we are becoming in Him. As believers, we’re in a process of being led by The Holy Spirit toward the likeness of Jesus. So don’t give up when the change seems to be taking time. His grace is there to cover the mistakes, but you keep walking with Him into maturity.
Hebrews 6:1 says, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”
Don’t give into the idea that you have to start over when you mess up. Repent, and have faith in the work of Christ, and then keep growing. Keep seeking Him. And if you’re smelling something in your life that shouldn’t be there, do the mature thing and take out the trash.