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"But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins. We can trust God, and he does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrongs we have done."
1 John 1:9 ICB
My Aunt told me she was coming to visit. That loaded sentence had me running around like a crazed maniac, cleaning and trying to make my first impression of our home to her perfect. Not much out of place, but enough to know we lived here… with 4 children. Making sure it smelled extra clean. Especially the bathrooms. Well, the boy's bathroom because it's a bathroom for three little boys seven and under, not a truck stop.
I was knee-deep in day two of cleaning, about to vacuum the stairs, when the Holy Spirit said, "It needs to be clean, not perfect." I paused with the broom in one hand and the vacuum in the other and said, "Okay, Lord, I hear you."
I wish this was the only time I'd been frantic before someone told me they were coming to visit, but it's not. I have done it countless times when my mom, grandmother, father-in-law, sister, and sister in laws; honestly, I've done it for any and everyone who decided to visit. I know our home will never be perfect with nothing out of place. Mainly because we have four little boys ages 7,5,4, and 1. Something is bound to be out of place, at least one bathroom looking like target practice gone wrong, toys scattered everywhere, the thousands of crafts and bald up sheets of paper the boys have littered throughout our house. But also, it's not supposed to be perfect.
The problem with what I was doing and my train of thought is that it's such a waste of time. The people whose opinion I value the most I tend to go harder for, i.e., the parental units, aunts, uncles, you know, the ones who have transitioned out of the season I currently find myself. Those very people are always asking how they can help when they come to visit. They're literally here to visit and love on us. However, because I want their visit to be comfortable and pleasant from the time they enter until they leave,(and it always is) I somehow, between the announcement that they're coming until they arrive, forget they're not coming to look at our house. What they're looking at is God's grace, mercy, and faithfulness multiplied in the everyday mundane of our family.
While I may sometimes want the neat buttoned-up perfect version, my visitors, just like God, don't care to have or want that. This scenario isn't just applicable to guests coming over; it applies to every area of our lives that we won't let God in. We give a million excuses about getting saved and how we will come when we "get ourselves cleaned up," or we say we will do this or that when we get ourselves out of a situation. Maybe you need it a little more plainly. Have you ever said or thought, "I'll stop partying, smoking, and drinking when I find the right person to settle down with"? Well, why wait to stop all that until you find them? You could possibly be spending your future days with them now because you wouldn't stop making excuses.
Maybe you've thought, "I'll return to school and get my degree when I find a little more time." What if your time IS now, but you're too afraid to follow where God is leading and fearful of what others will say, so you procrastinate Or, how about "I'll quit this job after I save a little more money "… meanwhile you're miserable, constantly tired, and still broke. Our excuses are of no value. No amount of self-will and determination will allow us to do only what God can.
Throughout scripture, we can find that God says HE will do the cleaning, which tells us up front that He EXPECTS us to come dirty. Sin is like filthy rags in His eyes, but Jesus' blood was shed for our sins, which cleanses us.
Our scripture today tells us we must confess our sins first in order for God to do two things we cannot readily do for ourselves… 1. He WILL FORGIVE us and do what is right. 2. He WILL make us CLEAN. Nowhere in the Bible does it say God will make us perfect; it says He will make us clean. God doesn't intend for us to go and lead perfect lives. He desires that we live lives that show we have been set free because we have been cleaned up by Him. This is not just a one-time cleaning that He speaks of; this is ongoing and never-ending. Perfection means something is at its pinnacle state and has arrived to the point that there is no other work or maintenance that needs to be done. Flaw and faultless.
God knows that we will never arrive at that state here on earth. But out of His perfect love for us, He cleans us up and sets us on the pathway to freedom in Christ Jesus. We don't have to jump through a million hoops nor work tirelessly to get ourselves to a place that is good enough to come and be accepted or loved by Him. He expects us to come dirty only to go out clean to share the good news.
Speaking of good news, I know you're on the edge of your seat to hear how my visit with my Aunt turned out since your girl was out here cleaning like she had 50 arms. Y'all, she ain't even come!!! Yes, I said ain't; I have to give to y'all how I feel it. Anywho, we ended up having a thunderstorm that turned into a tornado that knocked a tree down on the road leading up to her house. She and my uncle were fine, but it shows that sometimes we just put unnecessary stress on ourselves.
Eternal father, I want to thank you for allowing me to come to you dirty and full of sin… repeatedly. Thank you for being so great that you can clean even the things that I think are far too dirty and those that have caused me to feel ashamed. Thank you for never asking me to be perfect or expecting perfection. You simply ask me to come and confess, and you'll do what is right and cleanse me from all my sins. Thank you for spiritual eyes and a clean heart to not overlook one of the most essential keys in the scripture from today… I CAN TRUST YOU. I'm so glad I don't have to rely on myself, my strength, anyone, or anything else but You to do all the heavy lifting in Jesus' name. Amen.