By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
Depending on the day, if you opened my fridge, you may discover my dirty secret. Literally dirty secret. Amongst the usual condiments, leftovers, and produce, you may see empty, used, still dirty dishes.
I live in an upstairs apartment in a sometimes stifling, hot climate. The area is rural enough that bugs aren’t hard to find. And if I leave dirty dishes in the sink, the ants come out to sample the goods.
Now, the wise action would be to simply wash my dishes whenever I am finished cooking or eating (tasks I do quite often, actually). But are there any chores that you just really, really don’t like to do?
For me, that is washing the dishes. And when it’s been a full day, and I’m staring at a pile of dishes that need cleaning, sometimes, I just don’t want to deal with it. Since I really don’t want to deal with ants, into the refrigerator they go (ants don’t like cold)!
Life’s Dirty Dishes
So even though my fridge looks white and respectable from the outside, on the inside is lurking a dirty problem. Have you experienced this in your own life?
On the surface, you look good and all put-together. But on the inside, there’s still a dirty dish, a debilitating emotion, or source of shame – a behavior or thought process that is stinking up your insides.
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I can get away with my dish habit because I live by myself – no one but me knows the story (well, until now of course). When I do have company, those dishes get washed and set out to dry in full view. Knowing that people are visiting my home pushes me to clean out my dirt and do what I don’t want to do, but need to do.
The Cleansing Power of Community
People in my spiritual and personal business can have the same result: that’s one of the reasons why community is so important. It’s vital to my Christian walk to be surrounded by believers who inspire me to be stronger in my faith, and don’t let me get away with harmful thinking.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV
Photo courtesy of PxHere
“…be renewed in the spirit of your mind, [that] you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:23-24 NKJV
While I, and you, am certainly capable of renewing our minds with just us and the holy spirit God gave, as humans, we also have a natural tendency to hide or ignore our unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
Look at Adam and Eve in the original paradise, the Garden of Eden: their first instinct when called out by God for their disobedience was to hide.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8 NKJV
It is certainly easier to ignore harmful behaviors and thoughts that are lurking in the background, just as it is easier for me to shove my dishes in the refrigerator and pretend everything is clean. But easier does not mean better: for my kitchen or for our hearts and minds!
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (Jesus said this to the Jews who believed in him)
Live in Freedom
God has called us to live in freedom and light. He wants those things in our lives that are dark and dangerous to be eliminated, so that we can live freely for Him; so that we can walk in fruits of the spirit like joy and peace. God wants us to be able to live our best lives, the ones that He designed for us!
Image by YouVersion Bible
“For we are His workmanship (also translated as “masterpiece”), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
Therefore, for me to walk in that light, I need to be around friends and family that love me enough to call me out on unwise actions. Not so that they can condemn or criticize me, but to call me to righteous living.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6 NKJV
I don’t need to be around people that simply make me feel awful or ignore a stink in my life; rather, I choose to be around those who encourage me to be honest and live holy. To clear out and clean out all of my mental dirty dishes.
How about you? Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are they people who just choose not to open that refrigerator door? Or are they people who love you and encourage you to walk the beautiful life that God has intended for you to live?
Let’s walk in honesty and holiness together.