Taking Out the Trash

Read Romans 6:1-14: verses 12-14; "Do not let sin control your puny body any longer; do not give in to its sinful desires. Do not let any part of your bodies become tools of wickedness, to be used for sinning; but give yourselves completely to God - every part of you - for you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for his good purposes. Sin need never again be your master, for now you are no longer tied to the law where sin enslaves you, but you are free under God's favor and mercy. " (TLB)

Perla Iveth Murillo Zapata lives in Colombia. Working in the unforgiving heat of the day during their environmental cleanup campaign, approximately 70 people showed up to clean a very contaminated mangrove swamp. When they took a short break, Perla asked Nicolas, a young man on their team, how this experience had been for him. "At first it was just gross," he replied. "But as I got used to the smell and surroundings, I was able to pick up even the most disgusting things. In a way, this rubbish around us is like the sin in my heart."

His comment reminded Perla of how easily we become accustomed to our own sin or wrongdoing. When sin or wrongdoing makes us uncomfortable, we are disgusted. However, doing nothing about it seems to lessen its impact on our conscience. In the end, we become accustomed to living with it or spend the rest of our lives complaining about it - convinced that we cannot confront it. The assessment Nicolas gave is a clear reminder that it is time to take out the trash and clutter from our hearts and to seek refuge in Christ, who can redeem us from sin and refresh our spirits.

Prayer: God, our maker and friend, create in us a clean spirit and a willingness to attune our hearts to live in the light of your truth, in Jesus' name, amen.

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