Getting the bits behind our ears…
I’m not much of a guy for giving attention to detail. Oh, I shower and shave, get dressed, tuck in my shirt and comb my hair. But my wife’s the one with the eagle eye. “You missed a spot shaving, right here,” she’ll point out, or “There’s some hairs out of place there,” as she readjusts my shirt collar into something better that I’ve never quite understood, or pauses for a head-to-toe scan for stains and color-coordination.
You see, though we can get scrubbed up, “squeaky clean,” as I discussed yesterday, we don’t stay that way for long. In New Testament times sandal clad travelers were offered a footwash on reaching their destination. Picking up the filth of the world was a given by reason of simply passing through it. Our interactions with a dirty world leave their mark. Often these marks are more quickly perceptible to others than they are to us at first. We need others to point them out to us.
Our speaker this past Sunday, Kurt Billard, reminded us of this from the get-go. Especially as this world grows darker… dirtier… we need to “…encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thess. 5:11). We need self and other’s scrutiny that “not even a hint” (Eph. 5:3) of worldly contamination sticks to us. “Squeaky clean,” unafraid of, yes even seeking, the bright glare of the Spirit’s soul-searching spotlight.
God has assembled the perfect place for this to lovingly take place: the Church and family of God, His Body… His Bride. We do this by coming to His light, “…speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” (Eph. 5:19), keeping tabs with one another, using our gifts and expressing Christ’s love in ministry, prayer, and practical support.
Believers in Christ are now citizens of another Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Here we are but “sojourners,” travelers going through another domain. We must not forget this. We must keep ourselves clean. Jesus has gone before us, “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Heb. 4:15). He has given the resources to succeed: “…grace to help us in our time of need.” (v.16) And a promise to stabilize us,
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13).
That “way out” just may come from our community of cleaners, those with outside perspective who can see more clearly the bits behind our ears.
To hear Kurt Billard’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Dec. 8 message.