|Photo by Saqqibali 2017 |
As I start raking my path, I am humiliated to realize how many stones have accumulated on the once level brick path, and how much dirt has crept into the mortar cementing the bricks together. I had prided myself on keeping a clean house, but now the poor upkeep of my path would be known to all, even to my next door neighbor who always put on airs as if she were superior to me.
Naturally, the handful of debris that she was gathering from her path looked miniscule next to the huge heap now blocking the entrance to my home. Still, I comforted myself in realizing that the man who lived across the way was even more slovenly than I, with massive boulders on his path, covered in soot and grime.
Finally it was time to turn in our piles of rocks and dirt and to have the weight tallied and announced. To add to my embarrassment, the only container I could find was a flimsy paper tray, resembling what fries might be served in at a fast food restaurant. Even that evidence of my contamination by the world would add to my guilt and shame.
As I started scooping handfuls of dirt and pebbles into the paper tray, a faint drizzle of rain moistened the dirt and the paper started to dissolve. Then the skies opened with drenching rain, washing away all traces of the dirt and pebbles. No need to gather the rest, for the flood had cleared away the whole mound of rocks not only from my path, but from all the others in the settlement.
The storm stopped as abruptly as it started, leaving only the refreshing scent of ozone and a dazzling rainbow in the clouds. As I awoke, I thought of how easy it is for worldly clutter, sin and weights (John 15:19; Hebrews 12:1) to creep into our life even when we think we are guarding our heart, mind and body (Psalm 51:10; 119:11; Romans 12:1-2) to keep us separated and set apart for His service (Leviticus 11:44-45; 20:7; 1 Peter 1:16)..
While we cling to the illusion that we are holy and pure (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19), it is all too easy to judge others for obvious faults in their lives, without recognizing our own (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42). Or we go to the opposite extreme, getting discouraged when we think we don’t measure up to the example of others (John 21:21-22; 1 John 3:20). But it is not for us to judge, for only God knows the hearts (Psalm 44:21;139:23; Luke 16:15; Acts 15:8;), and only He has that right (Romans 12:19; James 5:9).
The truth is, we have all been weighed in the balances and found wanting (Daniel 5:27). None of us on our own merits can meet the standards or keep the law set forth by Holy God. But thankfully, we don’t have to (Romans 8:1-4), for He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16) to be the perfect sacrifice to pay for all our sins (Romans 3:25;.1 John 2:2; 4:10.
Now all those who are born again (John 3:3-7; 1 Peter 1:23) by placing their faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) are justified in His sight (Romans 3:20-30; 4:5-25; 5).. Now it is “just as if” we had never sinned, for His perfect righteousness is credited to our account. Now if we confess our sins, He is faithful and merciful to forgive us (1 John 1:9).
All our sins are washed away in His shed blood (Revelation 1:5), and Jesus, the Living Water (John 4:10; 7:38; Song of Solomon 4:15), washes us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). He formerly cleansed the earth from all the wickedness of man by sending the great flood, and even now He allows storms into our lives for His purposes. Sometimes the storms show us where we have allowed the filth of sin to contaminate our lives; sometimes they demonstrate His awesome power to destroy and yet to restore; and always they strengthen our faith in and dependence on Him.
Just as He sent the first rainbow after the great flood to remind us of His promise to never again destroy the earth by flood (Genesis 9:13-16), we can be reassured by every rainbow of His power, mercy, grace, and infinite love (Ezekiel 1:28). Praise God that we have no need to judge one another, for He is the only One to Whom every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is Lord! (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10) Praise God that we can leave our burdens at the foot of His cross and be showered in blessings from His precious Fount!
© 2015 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives