Keeping Clean

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
A common sight outside a Bangladeshi home is a pile of shoes and sandals. It is customary to remove one’s shoes before entering any house or office. The reasons for this practice are extremely practical. Roads, streets, and paths are often unpaved, so shoes are usually muddy or dusty. And the methods of cleaning are primitive and inefficient. There are no vacuum cleaners, detergent is expensive, and brooms are bundles of straw with no handles, totaling only 2 feet or so in length. People have learned that it is far easier to prevent dirt from entering than it is to get rid of it later.
This same principle applies to our spiritual lives. Sin and temptation are all around. It is easy to bring them inside. But, once sin has entered, it is difficult to get it out. I know, “the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Some in the past have argued that since we are saved by grace there is no need to worry about sin. It is easily taken care of. So the Romans apparently were saying “Let us continue in sin that grace may abound” (Romans 6:1). Such reasoning does not account for the powerful, addictive nature of sin. Sin enslaves us and traps us into bondage (Romans 6:15-17). It can overcome our will and our lives. Just like dirt, it is much easier to keep it out than to get it out later.
It has often been observed that many are far more concerned with staying free from physical dirt than from spiritual uncleanness. Those who leave their shoes at the door often invite filth and garbage into their minds and hearts through pornography, profanity, and gossip. Which of the two kinds of dirt is more damaging? Obviously that which pollutes one’s soul. Let us learn from the poor people of the world. Avoid unnecessary contamination. Leave it outside.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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