"If any clothing is contaminated with mildew - any woolen or linen clothing . . . It is a spreading mildew and must be shown to the priest." (Lev 13:47, 49 NIV)
Over the course of the last two Saturdays, we've been taking a closer look at what to do when you find mildew in your house and on your clothing. We've learned that the instructions in these texts can be applied to our spiritual "houses", our bodies (see 1 Cor. 6:19, Heb 3:6), and our "clothing", our character (see Eph 4:24). We've seen that just like the children of Israel were to examine their houses and clothing for spots of mildew or disease, we are admonished to examine our lives and doctrine (see 1 Tim 4:16), and we have learned that if we find "spots" of sin or addiction in our spiritual houses and clothing, we are to call in our High Priest, Jesus Christ (see Heb. 4:14), who will cleanse us of all unrighteousness (See 1 John 1:9).
But how can we stop the disease of sin? How do we learn control over our character flaws?
Friends, the answer is also found in Lev. 13 and 14: "To purify the house he is to take two birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop . . . He shall purify the house with the bird's blood, the fresh water, the live bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop and the scarlet yarn . . . In this way he will make atonement for the house, and it will be clean." (Lev. 14:49-53)
But wait a minute, Lyn! You aren't saying we have to offer sacrifices! WE DON'T OFFER SACRIFICES ANYMORE!!!
Yes, you're right. We don't offer sacrifices anymore because of Jesus: "Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant." (Heb 7:22); and "It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." (Heb 9:23-24 NIV)
Just like the priests of Israel needed to kill an animal and sprinkle its blood over the house or the garment, when we find sin in our lives, we need to sprinkle our spiritual houses and clothing with the blood of Jesus. Remember, God has promised that He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear: "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Cor 10:13 NIV).
But how do we go about doing this?
The answer is given to us by the apostle Peter: "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord . . ." (Acts 3:19-20 NIV). And it's really as simple as that. We repent, we are forgiven, and we are cleansed, renewed!
But the first step is just that: Repent!
I don't know about you, but it's a lot easier for me to confess my sin than to repent of it. It's easy enough to say, "Lord, when my neighbor yelled at me because my son got the tractor stuck two feet onto his property, and now there's a mud hole in his grass, my response was full of anger. I confess that was wrong. Forgive me!" The hard part is to hate that anger enough to repent of it: "Lord, I feel so bad because I got angry at my neighbor. I know that my anger doesn't make You happy, and it certainly doesn't glorify your name. I repent, Lord! Give me love in my heart for my neighbor instead of the anger I have allowed to grow there! Help me to see that mud hole from his perspective!"
How can we come to this kind of repentance? "Godly sorrow brings repentance . . ." (2 Cor. 2:9-11). Friends, we have to learn to hate sin as much as God does. Only then will our sorrow for our actions lead us to repentance.
And there's only one way to learn to hate sin as much as God does: Spend time with Him. Get to know His heart. Learn to see things the way He sees them!
It all begins with relationship, friends! If we want to rid our lives of the spots of sin, we need to deepen our relationship with God to the point that we see things the way He does. This will create a Godly sorrow for the spots of sin in our lives, which will lead to genuine repentance. Then God does the rest! For He has promised: "He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Cor 10:13 NIV).
Enough to ponder. But do ponder this: When we examine our hearts and find there are spots of sin in our lives, our job is to seek a relationship with God. This helps us see things the way God does so that Godly sorrow and true repentance can develop in our hearts. We can then trust God to do the rest!
May God bless each of you as you diligently search the walls of your spiritual houses and the fabric of your spiritual clothing!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Author, Moderator, the Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .
(To Access the entire "Of Diseased Houses and Clothing" mini-series, please click here.)