Yesterday I told the story of how bottles of Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil had fallen out of an upper cupboard and shattered on the floor below, and through the mess, we were able to understand the importance of becoming a “vessel” of God’s Spirit.
This wasn’t, however, the only lesson that mess taught me…
It happened on the evening of cleaning day. That meant that prior to this incident, the the house look and smelled … clean! Why couldn’t this have happened the day before I cleaned the whole house? And now I had this viscous and sticky mixture of vinegar and olive oil lying in pools all over the floor, flowing under the appliances and splashed up onto walls, cabinets and furniture! And the worst part was that after going over it twice with strong soap, it was all still … slippery!
Would my floor be slippery … forever?
Some things are actually impossible to clean. Sometimes all you can do is just cover up the mess. Take my organics bin, for example. It is so stained that no amount of scrubbing will make it look white again. When I put the plastic liner in, however, it suddenly looks … clean!
And what about that tiny black tiny stain in the middle of the white carpet. Nothing will take it out. There’s nothing to do but to buy a throw rug and … cover it up!
There are stains, however, that can’t even be covered up – like the spot of tomato sauce right in the middle of my white blouse. The only option is to throw it in the rag pile and buy a new one…
There is another, notable item that, once stained, is impossible to clean: The human heart!
Don’t believe it? Check out these texts:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV).
“…Out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” (Mark 7:21-22 ESV)
“The Lord saw … that every intention of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 ESV)
And that’s just a few examples of what the Bible has to say about our hearts!
There is only one solution to the dirt and grime of our hearts: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 ESV)
As you read further in the Bible, however, we see that Jesus’ blood isn’t just “covering up” the dirt in our hearts. Check out this text from Ezekiel: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez. 36:26 ESV).
When you accept Jesus into your heart, God removes your filthy, vile “heart of stone” and gives you a new “heart of flesh”, one that over time will come to the point that it won’t even want to be covered in the filth of sin again!
Wait. I received my “heart of flesh” 25 years ago. Why, then, is my new “heart of flesh” so stained? Who can clean it now that I’ve dirtied it up again?
Here’s the thing: Yes, I have already dirtied up my new heart many, many times, and to my shame, I continue to dirty it on a daily basis. The difference here is that while the sinful “heart of stone” I was born with had to be replaced, this new “heart of flesh” can be … cleansed! When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we have access to forgiveness of every sin we’ve ever committed — as well as the ones we are yet to commit! It is promised that: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…” (1 John 1:9 ESV)! And when we do confess our sins, Jesus takes that dirt and flings it: “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12 ESV)!
How do I know I actually have this new heart? Because while the old one wasn’t at all concerned about the dirt, this new one is. The old heart didn’t care if I was up to my eyeballs in temptation and addiction and hate and deceit. With this new “heart of flesh”, however, whenever I slip back into the old habits, when I’m pulled back into the old temptations, I hate it! I want out! No, the new “heart of flesh” isn’t immune to the filth of sin. Instead, it points me to the path of escape, and when I confess my sins and repent, it is washed clean once again!
I actually think that with enough scrubbing, I’ll get the sticky, slippery coating off these particular kitchen tiles. I’m so thankful that my heart no longer needs to be replaced, and that I can count on the blood of Jesus to get it clean every time I go and mess it up. It is my prayer that by His grace, I will “mess it up” less and less frequently as time goes on!
What about you? Have you received your new heart? If not, answer the Saviour’s Call today! If you have already received it but have dirtied it up, all you need to do is: “…confess [your] sins…”. When you do, “…he is faithful and just to forgive [you your] sins and to cleanse [you] from all unrighteousness…”! (1 John 1:9 ESV). Whether you need a new heart or simply a bit of heart cleansing, don’t wait! Do it today!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries
(To access the entire “The Day I Decided To … ” devotional series, click here!)