“WISDOM OF LIVING (32): BE CLEANED” By Pastor YAU
Text: Psalm 32:1-11 August 14, 2005
1) It is necessary for plants: The story in Our Daily Bread on July 6 reads like this: The rubber plant I bought for my wife Dorothy added a touch of life to our home. But one morning its leaves were dropping as if in a state of dejection. I wonder what happened. When I came home at the end of the day, the plant was transformed. It looked as hearty as it did the day I got it. The leaves were extended outward once again. When I asked Dorothy about it, she told me of reading a household hint on how to keep plants look fresh. Dust accumulated on the leaves can actually prevent the light from getting to them, so, it’s necessary to clean it regularly. She did just that and the result was amazing.
2) It is also necessary for man: As we live in this world with all kinds of pollutants, tiny “particles” of the world can easily build up in our lives that could block the light of the Holy Spirit from entering us to keep our spiritual life healthy and vibrant. We also need to keep a regular cleaning schedule to wipe out all those unwanted “dust” from accumulating and clouding our Christian life. If we neglect this important process, we will lose spiritual strength, insights and blessings from the true Light.
WHERE DO ALL THE “DUSTS” COME FROM?
1) Dusts come from this dusty world. Basically the world was form from dusts or particles, large or small or tiny. All material things, from grains of sand to metals to flowers to our bodies, are made from these particles or dust. We live in this world full of dusts and it is natural we get dusty if we allow it to happen.
2) “Dusts” also come from our sinful nature: Sin and sinful nature of man is like dusts that come from the inside of man. Evil thoughts and actions, hatred and resentment, greed and selfishness, pride and lusts are all moral dusts which come from the depraved nature of man. Each time we think, talk or act, we send out moral dusts that will pollute our environment and others.
3) “Dusts” also come from people we are close to: Thoughts, words and actions are all contagious: we learn from each other and are affected by others. Just as Prophet Isaiah confessed that “I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips.” (6:5) King Solomon advised all of us to be careful in choosing companions—people whom we associate with and learn from. (Proverbs 18:24) We could pick up wrong or immoral ideas, words or ways of life from people we get close with.
4) “Dusts” certainly come from Satan: Since the Great Fall recorded in the early chapters of Genesis, Satan continues to spread dusts all over the world. Dusts become so thick that people cannot tell true from false, right from wrong or black from white. It cheated Eve to disobey commands of God by clouding the clear words God spoke to them. Satan still tries to cheat many people by twisting truth to mislead people from doing right. Satan will substitute good and right with success or pleasure at all costs. Many of the modern day philosophy and conditional ethics are all dusts from Satan.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON DUSTS? We all know dusts are bad. We also know that some of them are worse than others to our physical and spiritual health. Here are some of the common dusts we find everyday in the modern society. “Dusts” are philosophies or common beliefs most people adopted or live by. Man lives with what he believes.
1) There in no absolute right from wrong: Relativism in moral and ethical issues is a very dangerous kind of dust we see today. It undermines the very foundation of truth and authority of God and His Word. It substitutes man and his situation as the perimeter in the judgment of right and wrong, good and bad. Man becomes the master of his own life.
2) Freedom and individualism above all: While we all applause the value of freedom and individual rights, to hold them way above everyone and everything else at all costs is another dangerous dust. Freedom and individual rights must be subjected to moral and social norms and well being of the society. Chaos will rise when freedom of one tramples the freedom and rights of others.
3) Success means everything no matter how: This is another deadly dust which has cribbed in to many people’s mind including some Christians. No one will argue the value of success. But success should never be the first goal of life, especially when it is achieved in questionable manners. God is the source of all success and He is always successful. We are here NOT to be successful according to worldly measures. We are truly successful when we live our life according to God’s law and order. Our existence is to glorify God and to witness for Him so others may find salvation through Jesus.
4) Materialism over Spiritual matters: The purpose of life is lopsided: the pursuit of material gain over spiritual matters. Time, energy and focus are all put into making more, getting better and higher at the expense of spiritual nurturing and relationship with people even those in the inner circle. Men become money making machines with little or no spiritual sense. Accumulation of wealth becomes the goal of life. Negligence of spiritual nurturing has robbed away the meaning and joy of living. Emptiness on the inside leads to many sinful indulgence and reckless life style.
WHAT HARMS CAN “DUSTS” DO? Just as physical dusts can harm the normal growth of plants, ideological dusts can harm the normal growth of man. The level of harm is closely related to the amount of dusts we allow it to accumulate on our thoughts and minds. No one can pinpoint exactly what or how much harm dusts may do to him. But harms will surely happen if we are naïve to the danger.
1) Worldly dusts will mold us into worldly people: When dusts of the world accumulated too thick in our life, we are molded to look and act as the world does. Apostle Paul gave warning to the early Christians on this regard in Romans 12:1-2 when he admonished us “not to be conformed by this world but to be transformed by the renewing of the Spirit.” When we allow worldly dusts to accumulate in our hearts and mind, the sensitivity of our spiritual life will grow dull and numb until we don’t feel anything wrong or bad in following the worldly beliefs. (Flog in the pan)
2) Worldly dusts will block us from receiving the True Light: The Holy Spirit is the True Light of God. He ministers to our inner need of spiritual health condition. It is that ability we understand the truth of God through His Word. Those who allow worldly dusts to accumulate will either lose their appetite in the Word of God or the ability to see and to understand the meaning and benefits of the Word. No spiritual light is able to penetrate their lives to further their spiritual growth.
3) Worldly dusts will cloud our vision to see our true nature. Many of those who have allowed layers and layers of dusts to accumulate their heart and mind will never see their pitiful spiritual condition or the pitfalls ahead of them. Their spiritual eye sights are blurred that they just can’t see the danger of their condition. Denial is the first step and anger is the next when someone points to them their condition. Many of these people either get mad with God or with those who tell them their true face. The common reaction is to get upset with those who love them enough to tell them the truth and even quit God and church.
4) Worldly dusts rob us from receiving blessings of God: Just as dust blocks natural light from entering plants to bring growth and vitality, worldly dusts block Christians from receiving blessings of God in many ways: a close and sweet relationship with Him, a sense of security from Him, a secured direction in Him and the confidence of knowing He is by our side every step of our life, just to list a few of the blessings we may receive without the clouding of worldly dusts. If conditions continue, spiritual life may wither.
HOW TO CLEANSE WORLDLY DUSTS? Unless we don’t care if our house plants are growing or not we will cleanse dusts from their leaves regularly to keep them alive and healthy. We need to do the same to our spiritual condition and health. Regularly we need to see if any dust from the world has clouded our heart and mind and spiritual vision. Here are some steps we may take to keep our Christian life alive and vibrant:
1) Be mindful of your spiritual condition: Don’t let busy life stop you from regular examination of your spiritual condition, your relationship with the Lord, your spiritual appetite and such. Negligence on your need of God will slowly but surely drift you away from Him. We are not here only to work, to make a living, to do daily chores or to satisfy our human appetite. We are here to bring glory to God. We need to be mindful of our spiritual needs. Make adjustments and change direction anytime you find yourself slow down, slide back or even lose focus.
2) Keep a regular time with God each day: Just as we need regular nutrition to maintain a healthy body, we need regular time with God in Bible study, prayer, devotional study to give us sufficient spiritual supplies for the inner needs. When reading His Word, be mindful of the lessons it brings that may help you cleanse your life of worldly dusts. Cleansing is a daily procedure. The longer you wait the harder to clean the dust next time.
3) Provide good resistance to dust accumulation: There are repellents that may help prevent or reduce the accumulation of dust on leaves. There are spiritual repellents which may help us to resist or reduce the accumulation of worldly dusts. Participate in worship services regularly with your spirit focused is the best way. Participate in in-depth Bible study and discipleship classes is another good way to being your spiritual sensitivity to a higher level. Keep a few spiritually strong friends and have fellowship with them on a regular basis may keep you from getting too close to worldly people. Reading inspirational books and magazines is another way to keep your spiritual tank full.
4) Be determined to trim and cut: Just as we need to have hope on our house plants to grow, we also need to keep a strong desire to grow our spiritual life. As we trim and cut dried leaves from plants, we need to trim and cut worldly habits, beliefs, ways of doing things, secular values and purposes to allow us a better growth. You may need to cut some worldly ways of business practices or some worldly friends to keep you from falling. Keep yourself away from environment of temptation or compromise. It is through pruning we become healthier and will bear more fruits. (John 15:2)
1) As dusts will weaken the growth of plants, worldly life style, beliefs and practices will weaken our spiritual growth. We need to keep our eyes on worldly dusts that may cloud or blur our spiritual eye-sight.
2) Plan and take steps to cleanse our inner spiritual condition that we may become healthy and productive in God’s vineyard bearing fruits to His glory.
3) Jesus can cleanse it all: The sacrificial blood of Jesus can cleanse all the sins and iniquities from your life. Jesus will forgive your sins if you bring them to Him in repentance. He will also give you eternal life if you accept Him as your Savior and Lord now to begin a new journey to heaven.