“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:5-10
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Tim. 3:16
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
When I lived in New York City decades ago, the city’s garbage truck drivers went on strike. Imagine New York City’s sidewalks being filled with all the city’s garbage that wasn’t being hauled off every day. Unimaginable, isn’t it? Decades later, back in the city for a season for my ministry work, I watch the garbage trucks come up and down my street regularly as the workers haul off the endless garbage that accumulates in people’s homes and lives day by day. They do an amazing job of collecting the garbage so it doesn’t accumulate. Even one day’s worth of garbage is so incredibly much. Picking up the garbage every 24 hours helps enormously, but it’s never enough given the amount of garbage everyone has.
Sin is garbage that stinks up and makes foul and filthy our hearts and lives and the lives of others and most importantly hurts God and needs to be repented of. We can’t afford to let sin accumulate in us before we deal with it. Yet some of us are essentially on strike when it comes to dealing with sin, taking on more and more of it until we have mountains of disgusting trash filling us up and overflowing onto the hearts and lives of others and most of all hurting the Lord. Others of us are dealing with our sin once in a while when we feel like it, and the mountains may not be as big, but there are hills and mountains of sin just the same. Some of us figure once a day is enough to get rid of the garbage, and we examine our hearts and days and seek the Lord’s forgiveness for our wrongdoing.
If there is anything I’ve learned about sin, it’s this. The very best way to handle the garbage of sin is to haul off the trash as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts us of any wrongdoing. Right then, right there. We should seek the Lord’s forgiveness and be cleansed from all sin, and we should seek His will and strength so we can turn away from the sin and learn not to repeat it. Can we really afford to let our sin accumulate? Should we? No! When our lives are submitted to God, it is up to Him to lead us to repentance and shouldn’t be a matter of when we feel like dealing with our sin. We should ever strive to purify ourselves through repentance to keep ourselves clean and pleasing to God.
My favorite time to walk down the sidewalks of New York City is when the garbage trucks have hauled off the trash, the landlords and home owners and management companies have cleaned up and hosed down the sidewalks, and the sidewalks are fresh and clean.
In our walk with the Lord, we need to be vigilant about keeping our sidewalks fresh and clean. If our hearts and lives truly belong to Jesus, if we call ourselves His followers, then we have a responsibility to purify ourselves for Christ. No garbage truck strikes. No periodic haul-offs. No once a day quick prayer to be forgiven. A lifestyle of honoring God to include keeping ourselves free from the trash of sin – repenting whenever the need arises and learning to walk humbly and faithfully and righteously in the ways of the Lord.