Barefooted and wearing shorts, I quietly ventured onto my porch. With a fresh dark-brewed morning cup in hand, I took my place on a favorite porch swing. Sitting under the canopy of early morning darkness, I captured a few moments of silent reflection. I enjoyed myself, until . . . as I moved to make my way back inside; an unexpected visitor greeted me. Something small touched my bare leg! Then he gripped his tiny “suction cups” (or appropriately identified as suckers) into my right calf. Without being able to see the critter, I could only feel his tiny but tight clasp! Immediately, I did a little dance trying to shake the unknown off my bare leg. I have to admit; a light scream escaped my lips! After a few helpless cries and ridiculous dance moves, a slimy tree frog released his grip. Still processing what just happened, I ran into the safety of my home!
True Story! Not exaggerated! My husband is still laughing!
However, I have a question for you today.
What unpleasant thing has its grip on you? What is sticking to you? What ugliness sends you into ridiculous movement, and nasty voices?
Negativity? Un-forgiveness? Pride? Gossip?
Ugliness often ‘jumps on me.” Sometimes it surprises me how quickly it seems to find its grip in my life. Negativity. Un-forgiveness. Pride. Gossip. These sins clasp their suction cups or suckers into my flesh. Honestly, sin takes hold when I least expect it. Sometimes, I might not recognize its grip until it is too hard to shake. What about you? Does sin grab you as well?
My friend, can I remind you of two things today?
In our flesh, we are all a hot mess. Ugliness tries to stick on us. We might desire to shake it off, only to find ‘suckers’ digging deep. Whether it is negativity, unforgiveness, pride, gossip, or any other sin, it finds us all. “No one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10 (ESV) In our flesh, we are so prone to “stuff sticking.” We can’t escape the temptations. There is no room for spiritual pride, because no matter who we are, we still have stuff sticking. Acknowledge it. Bring it to God. Agree with Him that you are a hot mess. 1 John 1:9 (ESV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Ask Him to forgive you. He is faithful. He is just. He will cleanse us. Every. Single. Time.
But God! (Don’t you love those two words?) “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us” Ephesians 2:6
The Blood of Jesus cleanses us! Our Lord is the One who has perfected us. As a child of the king, we are the perfection of Christ. We are the righteousness of God. Resentment, pride, and un-forgiveness are not a part of you or me! There is no place for any slimy creatures to stick on us. Romans 6:6 reads, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (ESV)
Friends, in our flesh, we are a hot mess, but in Christ, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)
So, allow these two balancing truths to humble us AND set us free. Because of Jesus, even as we battle the flesh, we can dance! Let out a little squeal! Dance for delight in who we are in Him and how totally dependent we are on His goodness and grace. Dance, not because a slimy ugly creature has a hold of your right calf but because you, even now, are free indeed! You are perfected! We bare the righteousness of Jesus Christ! And that my friend is worth celebrating!