The other day, while my husband and I were at the gas station, we decided to use the drive-through car wash because the car was extremely dirty, and we had not been able to find the time to wash it. As we sat in the car and waited, I watched as the car was lathered, washed, rinsed and dried.
It was the first time using that particular service so I wanted to see the results. We got out of the car and noticed that the finish was almost impeccable. The car certainly looked transformed but one truth stood clear: it didn’t matter how clean and shiny the outside looked, the inside was still dirty!
So often in our Christian walk, we get caught up in what people see and think about us, so much so that in order to maintain that image, we fail to allow God to work on us. We get caught up in the duties and responsibilities that we have at church, work and in our communities that we don’t have any time left to spend with the Lord.
We get so caught up in trying to be the perfect Christian, that we begin to walk in our own understanding and stand in our own self-righteousness. And sometimes too we get caught up in pretending to be who we think others want us to be, that we don’t take the time to learn, and under the Spirit’s guidance become, who God has called us to be.
Cleanse us from within
“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel chapter 16 verse 7)
God knows us and He can see what others fail to see. Even more so, He sees beyond what we may pretend to be, even when others are unable to do so. As Christians, we need to be reminded that God knows our flaws, mistakes and shortcomings and still desires communion with us.
He longs to conform us to the image of His Son. We must understand however that we cannot clean ourselves. Instead, we must confess our sins to Him, surrender to Him and lean on His understanding. In fact, the Bible reminds us that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John chapter 1 verse 9) That is God’s job, not ours, so we need to surrender to Him knowing that His will is better than ours.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs chapter 3 verses 5-6)
Stay close to God
An excerpt from one of my favourite hymns says “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here's my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.” (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson, 1758).
It is so easy for us to stray away from the presence of God. We therefore need to be intentional about our relationship with the Lord. We need to seek Him daily by spending time in His Word and in prayer. After all, we cannot remain clean if we stay away from the One who cleans, can we?
When we remain in God’s presence, we are better able to walk away from our fleshly inclinations. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians chapter 5 verse 16)
When we walk in the Spirit, we are setting aside our own will and desires and instead choosing to follow the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. As we follow Christ and walk in obedience to Him, we begin to bear fruits and we are further molded into His image.
As we walk daily with the Lord, we need to examine our hearts. King David once cried to the Lord, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm chapter 51 verse 10).
We must be open to allowing God to search our hearts and reveal ways within us that do not line up with His will and character such as pride, arrogance, bitterness and unforgiveness.
Once the Holy Spirit sheds light on these issues, that is, in one way or another reveals them to us, we must surrender them to Him, so that with His help we are able to overcome them. Remember, we cannot clean ourselves spiritually.
The Prophet Isaiah even declared that “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah chapter 64 verse 6). Our attempt at cleaning ourselves will only make us dirtier.
Therefore, like King David we must go before God and ask Him to “create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm chapter 51 verse 10)
Our God wants to cleanse us from within, but we need to be willing to go through the process. Are you willing to surrender to God and allow Him to search your heart for anything that displeases Him?
Are you willing to change as He leads you to? He will wash you from within and I guarantee you His work is impeccable and will leave you shining not just on the outside but from the inside out.
Rose-Ann Durant is a young Christian from Kingston, Jamaica, who is currently living in Barbados. She is the 2021 Basil Sellers International (18-30) Awardee and in August 2021, became a contributing writer for Victorious By Design, a digital and print media group that seeks to encourage women of all ages to walk victoriously into all that God has called them. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going to the beach, river, and spending time outdoors.