Dish Duty

 

CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART Devotional for the disorganized #BibleStudy, #organization

This scripture has graced the chalkboard above my kitchen sink for over a month. I usually rotate the scripture more often, but the last couple weeks has been emotionally and spiritually stressful, and left me feeling a bit misunderstood, misjudged, and like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I’m fighting some pessimism and a bit of the blues. I wrote a blog at the beginning of the week and read it to my husband. He raised an eyebrow and said, “No. This is not your normal. You sound frustrated and that isn’t you.” He was right, and as much as I epically loathe when he is right…he does know me best. I don’t want to spread those feelings, so I shelfed the post while I prayed and focused on reaching a better frame of mind. I found myself looking at this scripture written a month before, over my sink. It struck me that, I didn’t know it when I wrote it, but I was writing it for my future. This was a sweet little reminder of how God knows my future and my struggles. His son experienced all of it, and he understands.

Sometimes I feel completely alone surrounded by people. Sometimes I feel completely misunderstood or misjudged even by those who know me best.  I truly think we all experience these situations from time to time. If we didn’t, how could we ever understand the tiniest taste of the walk of Christ?

When Jesus came, he rocked the world of the misguided idea of righteousness, and he set an entirely new premise. He turned the spiritual world upside down to reach us, and He set the most important example of all time. Can you imagine from the perspective of Jesus, what it must have been like, to be the son of God, and only he could truly understand what that meant? The souls around you not able to perceive the burden you carried for them. I can only imagine how lonely that must have been. To make things worse, the Pharisees categorized Christ among sinners with their assumptions. Jesus was a burr in the britches of the Pharisees. They’d long established their own tradition of “self righteousness.” By the time pure righteousness appeared in front of them…they didn’t recognize it. His righteousness threatened their social importance, so they slandered him, spread rumors, and falsely accused him until his crucifixion. 

Mathew 9:10-13

10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

11. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

13. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

 Jesus knew something they couldn’t possibly understand. If sinners voluntarily sat down with him, they had interest. These sinners could get up and leave if they didn’t want to hear what Jesus had to say, but these were the stayers. If a sinner is in a congregation…there is something receptive happening here. The heart has been pricked, and that is step number one.

 Jesus was a teacher with the most important lessons in history.  He understood that learning was a process, and that chasing off sinners, would leave him with a receptive audience of exactly zero souls.  He patiently taught by example and with patience, a completely new human curriculum than what had ever been presented before. He was the best teacher of all time, and yet the earthly school board hated him. They wanted to create a reputation for him that ruined his influence and they wanted him fired before he ruined the religious infrastructure they had prided themselves on for centuries. They never wanted to miss an opportunity to fault him for defying their definition of righteousness.

Mark 2:23-28 Jesus spoke these words.

23. And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.

24. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?

25. And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?

26. How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?

27. And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

28. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

They faulted Jesus for plucking corn on the sabbath. Isn’t that like the equivalent of scolding the president for using the bathroom on presidents day? I mean, I’m almost embarrassed for the Pharisees here. Any other human would have been like, “You know what?! Do you know who I am? Who my Dad is?” Instead, because Jesus was perfect, and so very far from what my probable thought process…he knew he had to teach with patience and that his words would be read, referred to, and written on the hearts of men for generation upon generation. He was the only one who could teach the pathway of righteousness. He didn’t fit in one bit, and he was trampling down all kinds of wild man made weeds, because he was forging a new divine path, and he gave every single soul, an opportunity to learn. 

Mark 7: 5-9

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

6. He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with theirlips, but their heart is far from me.

7. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

8. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

In these two different instances, Jesus was trying to teach them that their own traditions aren’t his definition of holy. He was trying to teach mankind, that the heart is what is important. You can go through all of the right rituals, and you can look like you are doing just fine, but you can actually still be a mess inside. You can also not look like much and be completely misunderstood and persecuted, and have the purest heart. Basically, you can polish the outside of a cup to near perfection, but it doesn’t matter if the cup is full of garbage. A personal relationship with God changes a heart, and that is what washes the cup clean. Our heart needs to be dedicated to the cleaning out of the inside of our cup. 

1st Corinthians 3:16&17

16. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

We are the church. We bring it wherever we go. Sometimes church is at 9:45 Sunday morning, and sometimes church is in session while talking to your seat mate on an airplane, to your coworker about their troubles, at school at the lunch table, or in the room of a hospital. Jesus is looking at the desires and motivations of our heart and our obedience. We are responsible to make sure we are nourished by God’s spirit, and should be looking for that every day, not just when we enter a designated building. We are each the temple of God. We are the church. He dwells in our hearts.

Jesus was here to teach and he had a heart of love and patience. If there was any opportunity to help them understand, he gave it. 

Luke 6:6-11

6. And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.

7. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.

8. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.

9. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

10. And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

11. And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

The Pharisees thought of their traditions as a law to be abided by without exception, but Jesus wants us to abide by laws of the heart. We are to live every day as a sabbath day. Every day should be dedicated to the will of God being accomplished in whatever way He chooses to use us. It should be our thought every single day, to dedicate our life’s purpose to God. We commune with Him and draw out our hearts continually, whether we are in a shuttle van on vacation talking to a stranger, or singing praises in a pew. 

 Jesus didn’t fit the mold. Nearly no one in history, was as misunderstood as Jesus was.

Luke 11:37-42

37.  And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.

38. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.

39. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

40. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

41. But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

42. But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

It’s a natural thing to want to pick the prettiest most desirable thing, and yet the nature of God is restoration. He picks the most shattered, scarred, marred, and wretched, and He heals those things to a purpose.  Conversion takes growth,  growth takes time, and time takes patience. We don’t convert hearts, God does. When He completes the washing of the inside of the cup, He then begins the polishing. 

I don’t know about you, but I was quite the mess all over this cup before I started to truly grasp the gravity of the responsibility I have to God. When I first got started, I was very discouraged by how far I had to go. I knew I was just at the beginning of throwing out the garbage in my life. I found over and over when I found myself discouraged by my failures, that God reassured me that I just had to keep trying my best. He would help me. Washing my cup of filthiness, was going to take time, and polishing comes last. The issue is that the cleansing of the cup is far more important than the way the outside looks. When it’s time to be used, the importance of being clean, has a direct effect on everything that comes out of it. Sin is grime. If you fill a filthy cup, it taints the contents and everything that comes out of that cup, is contaminated. If you wash the grime out of the inside, what comes out will be pure. I want more than anything, to be the kind of cup that pours out purity and not grime.

Jesus didn’t fit in, because he didn’t do what was natural. He did what was supernatural. He did the things that were hard. He never caved to sin. He swam upstream in an effort to show us the way to eternal life. Human nature is spiritual death, and he came to save us from it. The contrast between Jesus and the Pharisees demonstrate these different thought processes exactly. Pharisees cared about reputation, pride, appearances and status. Jesus cared about the internal workings and intents of the heart. He demonstrated humility, plainess, obedience, love, and patience. If we follow in Christ’s footsteps, we will probably feel that we don’t quite fit in sometimes, or we are misunderstood and that is okay,  because the one leading us, didn’t fit in down here on earth either.  

What made Christ holy? His relationship with God made him holy. You can have that relationship with God in a prison, in a trench hole, as a Prisoner Of War, as the persecuted and as the misunderstood. God is not afraid of scars, prison bars, or wounded hearts. Those are His favorite to restore. He and his son are in the family business. They built it from the ground up, with blood sweat and tears.

It has never mattered if we “fit in,” because Jesus never “fit in.” He was just always about his Father’s business. Don’t be discouraged if you feel like an outcast, misunderstood, persecuted, or filthy. We all feel it from time to time. I think I’d be more worried if we didn’t.

1st Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Now, I gotta stop typing and keep scrubbing the grime off the inside of this cup of myself. Huge hugs my friends. I love you each.  

  God was a lot more concerned about people who faked it, than blew it.  - Bob Goff    Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector."The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' "But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven,...

 

 

 

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