Take the Garbage Out!

1 John 3

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.

Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life[a] is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers[b] does not belong to God.

One of my favorite poems by Shel Silverstein tells the story of a little girl who continually refuses to obey her daddy – and take out the trash. Eventually, the pile of rubbish becomes so high that it begins to negatively affect her relationships with others, so Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout finally decides to take the garbage out! Unfortunately, however, because of her constant procrastination, the pile is so high that she is no longer able.

Over the years, Doug and I have witnessed many sons and daughters continually refuse to obey their Daddy- and take out the trash. As a result, their rotten, stinky, filthy sins begin to pile up. When the weight of the pile begins to destroy their marriage, one of them will eventually become exasperated and announce: “I’m done.” In an attempt to clean up the mess, they will relent, as Sarah did, and try to muster up the strength to empty the trash on their own. Sadly, in most cases, they become so overwhelmed with the magnitude of the pile they just ignore it and walk away..…

When I got married I had a dumpster full of trash. As I continued to break God’s law the pile got larger and it too began to negatively affect my relationship with my husband. Several years went by until I finally said “OK, I’ll take the garbage out!” But, just like Sarah, I was overwhelmed and completely unable….

That is, until I realized that…..

1) even if my pile of sins reaches the sky, when I confess, God is always faithful to forgive me.

2) His Spirit will patiently help me remove each and every piece of rotten, stinky, filthy trash from my life through the power of His Word.

3) He will provide others in the Body of Christ to pray for, encourage and hold me accountable to continue to take the garbage out!

1 John 1:5-10

This is the message we heard from Jesus[a] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

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