I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within in you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.
So much of our faith is centered on the simple acts of washing and cleaning. The hugely symbolic and eternity-changing act of washing clean is something we do everyday with our bodies and many other things, like a sink full of dirty dishes. Right now, they are calling out to me to come and clean them with hot water and dish soap so they can be fully baptized by the dishwasher, to come out sparkly clean on the other side. This example is an ordinary act of the everyday, but in the hands of God, and when done to us, the ordinary takes on life-altering possibilities.
We are all dishes of some sort too. The Bible calls them “vessels,” or “jars of clay.” I wonder if this verse from Ezekiel is what Paul had in mind when he wrote his second letter to Timothy, describing, “If anyone cleanses himself from these things [which are dishonorable—disobedient, sinful], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, [set apart for a special purpose and] useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2:21 amp). It takes cleansing to get us to full use. By His grace, He will do the cleaning all on His own.
All of us have been clogged with junk; and all of us need the open-heart-and-soul surgery. He has to take out what is inside, but He doesn’t just wash it and put it back. He puts back something entirely new. He puts in a new heart—one that can operate at higher levels—fueled by the renewable resource of His love, received by His own Spirit within us.
This is the lightning bolt into Frankenstein’s creation, without the resulting monster. It’s the opposite, actually. We were monsters; and now, through a new heart, redeemed human spirit, and the indwelling of the one and only Holy Spirit, we are the gorgeous creatures we were meant and born to be. Truly, though, at this moment of eternal renewal, we are but newborns. We have to grow up into this new heart, learning from the Holy Spirit inside us and inside our community of faith.
We need to remain open vessels—clean dishes ready to serve the good-tasting fruit He has for the world. And to stay that way, we need regular washing. We need regular immersion. The Holy Spirit is the agent for that. He is ready to refresh us. All we need to do is ask Him to wash us clean again, to refuel our tanks with His love, and use His power to clean us up so we can be ready to be used by Him, for His purposes today.
Come, Holy Spirit. I need Your loving, gentle touch to wash off the grit and grime of life in this world. I’ve come to You to give me what I need right now, and welcome immersion in Your presence to renew me to health, wholeness, and purpose. I open my hands and heart to You to make me clean for Your holy use. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Are you in any way afraid to expose your heart to the cleansing ministry of the Holy Spirit?
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