Monday, December 31, 2012
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Our garage had gotten to the point where it was scary. Yeah, it was so scary my son used to have nightmares about it. He'd wake up and realize the nightmare was real! It was so messy there really wasn't much walking space. You could crawl around, but that was even tight. See, it had been a busy year, and we really hadn't any time to clean it up. It wasn't that it was all our mess; we had been storing things for other people too.
But we knew it was a mess and we felt bad about it. Every time we went out there we got discouraged and endangered. (There was no telling what was under all those piles!) Now, the mess was still there even though we knew about it. Oh, and we talked about it. But then we did something other than just walk by it and talk about it. We actually attempted to clean the garage, and it quickly got to the point where you could actually walk around in it. It looked twice the size! We approached it differently this time. We attacked it, and the clean felt great!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Acknowledging Or Attacking the Mess."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 7, beginning at verse 9. "Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us." Now, they didn't stop just feeling sorry. No, they went on. As the passage goes on it says, "Godly sorrow brings repentance..." Now, that's a key; remember that. "...that leads to salvation and leaves no regret..." Maybe I could put in there leaves no mess. "...but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done."
See, these people got busy with the mess! Now, what God is saying here is sorry doesn't do it. It didn't do it in our garage. Just to be sorry about the garage didn't change anything! Oh, we'd been sorry for a long time, but the mess was still there. Look, maybe there's a spiritual mess in some corner of your life right now. And you know what? As we are on the cusp of a brand new year, what a great time to be thinking about cleaning up the mess.
Can you think of a sin that you've confessed over and over again only to re-sin again and again in that area? Maybe it's your temper, or something to do with your personal purity, could be sinful talk, pride, or lust, but you just can't win it. Well, it may be that you still have the mess because you've confessed but you haven't repented. It's not enough to acknowledge the sin, feel sorry about the sin and ask for help. You've got to tackle that mess!
If you feel like we did when we started cleaning that garage, you might say, "Oh, this is hopeless! Where do I start on this mess?" Well, you start organizing. You start cleaning out your life. You start setting it up as if you're not going to sin like that again. You repent specifically by name for that sin. You ask God to break your heart and make you sad over it. You find someone who will hold you accountable; who knows about your battle and will ask you how it's going. You burn all the bridges to that old part of you - that wrong part of you - all those things the Devil has used to bring that sin into your life over and over again. You just don't allow yourself to get into the situations where you could even do this sin.
Will you fall again? Well, probably. Will there be a mess in the garage again? There may be. But pick it up while it's small. Get up quickly. You attack the mess when it's small, and you start a new day clean. You start a new year clean. You don't need to acknowledge that mess again; you need to attack it.
Take it from a man who finally got fed up with a mess that had been there too long. Clean really feels good.