Clean Up

            When you ask the Lord to stop the fire, he does.  Immediately.  There is no condition.  The firemen do not stop to ask detailed questions about how the fire started.  They put it out.  The damage on the other hand, remains.  And boy is there damage.  I think in our lives many times we cry out to Jesus to save us from the fire, but then we let the mess remain. Or, we try to clean it up ourselves.  Let me tell you if I had to clean the disaster at my house right now I would get depressed!  It is overwhelming to think of handling this mess on my own.  My other option is to ignore it and keep living in a toxic environment.

 In our spiritual lives we have the same choices; fix our broken lives on our own, or act as if everything is fine.  Another option is to ask for help.  The Lord has put some pretty special people around that specialize in cleaning up messes.  They are professionals, gifted by God to recognize the root and the subsequent damage. He gifted them for the specific purpose of cleaning up the harm that comes from fire.  Just like the cleaning company that is going to remove the soot and mildew from my house, counselors help make sense of the mess in order to eliminate it because the bigger the fire the more chaos. 

As a believer, if there is something that is preventing me from freedom, I will not be free if I continue to operate in the same way. We had to move out of our house because it is not safe to remain there.  Moving to a different place is required when there is destruction.  You have heard that an alcoholic doesn’t need to remain in a bar.  It is not a matter of God forbidding or trying to say you cannot have fun, it is a matter of rebuilding.  When there is sin and it does its insidious work, sometimes the only way to rebuild is to relocate away from the damage.  I am not talking about a physical move, but a mental one.  It is retraining thoughts and the habitual actions that come from them.  It doesn’t matter which freedom blocker…gossip, envy, unforgiveness, slander, adultery…the list goes on and on.  The moving away from disaster, and the professional help, begin the rebuilding of a life. 

The Lord oversees this whole process and leads us down a path of reflection.  Now is the time to get detailed about how the fire started.  Now is the time to assess the damages and see how far the destruction spread within the walls.  Now is the time to demolish the remaining walls and remove the toxic debris.  It is a purging and the Lord is ruthless…and kind…in his pruning of unwanted freedom blockers.  He does not stop until the last vestiges of the putrid smell are gone.  We, of course, can choose to start the fire again, or abandon the process of healing along the way, but HIS heart is for us to have the courage to let him complete the work he started.  He will give us the faith to stand in the midst of our mess…it is humbling…and sometimes embarrassing, but it is also freeing!  If we could just remember the freedom that comes when our sin is removed we would not fight it so hard the next time we fall!  To be washed whiter than snow is one of the great benefits of faith in Christ.  It is a mystery to be sure.  What kind of love does this great work in us with such patience and kind understanding?  Amazing love. 

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