“Throw away those filthy rags.”

If there is one thing I really cannot stand, it’s a messy house.  I am not saying my house doesn’t get messy, because it does.  But I can’t stand it that way.  When I see a mess, I see chaos and clutter.  Some days I can let it go, but then there are those days that I just cannot.  I cannot go to bed knowing in the morning as I fumble my way to the coffee pot, I will encounter a housekeeping tragedy.

I am one of those weird people who enjoy watching other people clean their houses on videos.  And let me clarify, I do not like just watching anybody.  The few who I watch, who I am drawn to, are professionals or are reputable.  Some older than me.  Some younger than me, but because of their experience I can learn things from them about cleaning that I may not have known about.  I may have been cleaning a certain way and possibly may have learned a new, better, or more efficient way to get things clean and keep them clean.

Whether watching videos or in my own experiences of cleaning, one thing I do know is that what you use to clean with matters in the results you will get.  Inefficient tools produce inefficient results.  And if one is trying to make something clean by using a dirty rag – it is not going to work.  All you are doing is spreading the previous filth from which the rag was used on what appears to the naked eye to be clean, but now it’s riddled with invisible germs and all kinds of gross stuff you can’t see.

So, we see with those filthy rags we didn’t actually clean anything.  We didn’t make anything right or better than it was before.  All we did was re-contaminate what we thought we were cleansing. 

Isn’t that like our human nature to step back and look at something and think that we made something right on our own, with our own abilities and thoughts and actions?  To take credit for things we ought not to?  Especially when it comes to spiritual matters and our Christian walk?  It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking we have obtained any of His goodness on our own.  As if by our will, we can check off invisible boxes that said we were good enough in this area and that, therefore the graces, mercies, and salvation bestowed on us is our just reward.

No, my friend.  That thinking is so far from the truth and reality of our stance before a holy God.

Isaiah let us know that no matter what we think the best of us is, in and of ourselves, it still amounts to nothing but dirty rags before a holy God.  “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (64:6).

On our own, what we bring to the table of our lives and try to clean up, just amounts to mess on top of mess.  Our nature has been sinful from the beginning.  This is why Jesus stressed to Nicodemus our need to be born again (John 3:3).

Outside of Christ, there is nothing within us that is powerful enough and good enough to wash away our sins and make us clean.  Any attempts within us to answer the charge against us are just that – attempts.  They are futile self-efforts of futile self-righteousness.  And self-righteous efforts never go far in God’s account book of records.  Because for one to claim self-righteousness means they can get right with God on their own and in their own way.  Who they are, their works, their efforts speak for what they think they deserve.

By all accounts, Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, ticked off all the right religious boxes to be able to boast of his own acquired righteousness in the flesh.  In his own testimony of himself found in Philippians, he states:

“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” (3:4-6).

Have you ever been there with the mentality that the good you are or have is because of you and your efforts?  Have you ever looked down on another, even in just your heart, and felt they should be holy like you until God had to come in and knock you off your beast of pride like he did Paul to let you know you didn’t have it as together as you thought you did?  You are still harboring some mess inside of you.

At another time, in giving a defense for himself, the apostle Paul said, “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day,” (Acts 22:3).  And still, to add to his accolades, Paul said at another time, “…I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee…” (Acts 23:6).

Paul supposedly had all the right stuff, and yet, he had nothing, and without Christ, he was nothing.

Back in Philippians 3, Paul continues to write:

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith,” (7-9).

Going off his own righteousness obtained by checking off the boxes of the law, Paul became a persecutor of the church.  After his transformation, he went from persecuting Jesus (Acts 22:4-8) to calling Him in Philippians 3:8, “My Lord.”

My friend, I don’t care what we think we have or bring to the table.  When we meet Jesus, we realize as Paul did, we have nothing on our own.  And that is a good place to be!

No matter who we are or what we perceive we have or do not have, we all start out with Jesus in the same way.  As Paul testified, “…not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith,” (Philippians 3:9).

So, whatever those “good enoughs” are any are holding on to, without the righteousness found only in Christ, all those “good enough” efforts and ideas of self-realized righteousness are as “filthy rags.”

Throw away those dirty rags.  We all need Jesus Christ in order to be made right before God; in order to be saved.

Jesus, Himself, said, “…without me ye can do nothing,” (John 15:5).  He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).  To make a long story short, we all need Jesus!

I have heard some say something along the lines of, “Well, I’m not as bad as some.  I don’t do this or that.  What do I need to repent for?”  In other words, they may not be super-saints (are any of us?), but they are not that bad either, so why do they need Jesus?  Aren’t they good enough the way they are?

To them, I give Jesus’ answer: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).

At another time, Jesus put to rest the idea of those who thought they were righteous on their own.  In the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, the Bible says:

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14; bold emphasis added).

Friend, throw away any filthy rags of self-righteousness for they will never make one right before the Lord.

Come to Him humbly like that tax collector, realizing without Jesus cleaning us up on the inside, we will never be clean enough: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” 

When one trusts in themselves and their own works of righteousness, they put themselves in the dangerous place of tossing God’s grace aside and adopting a prideful position in life that opposes God and His plan of salvation. 

The Bible strictly warns, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

That is the best part of the gospel message.  It is never about what we can do, bring, or add to the equation.  It always has been, and always will be about Jesus Christ and what He has already done.

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:6-11)

Some Pharisees and those in religious circles could not accept Jesus’ message because they, in their self-righteousness, thought they were okay the way they were.  They were religious but didn’t have Christ.  They looked to be in all the right places and doing all the right things but took credit for their own perceived holiness.  Therefore, they looked down on others when it is only through the sacrifice of Christ one can receive “atonement” and be made right.    

Then, there are those who don’t know or won’t acknowledge Christ, because as previously stated, they are not as bad as some, and think they are “good enough” the way they are.  But it is when none of us were “good enough”; when all of us were “sinners” that “Christ died for us.”

Self-righteousness is a set of filthy rags that many try to clean their life with.  We may not see the surface dirt, but the invisible attitudes of the heart, God sees it all.

Friends, we must throw away any filthy rags of self-righteousness and realize none of us got here on our own.  Everything we have and are is because of the work that Jesus Christ has already performed on the cross.  No self-works.  No self-efforts.  No self-righteousnesses can save any of us.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

And, that salvation, my friends, comes through Jesus Christ alone! 

If you want your life to be truly clean, then one must come through Him who is perfectly clean, “without blemish and without spot,” (1 Peter 1:19).  No filthy rags will do. 

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“Wash Me Jesus!”

“If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” John 13:8

 As humbling as it was, He was doing it anyway, washing the feet of all the disciples in the room.  In case you didn’t know, this was a very gross job reserved for the lowest of servants in the house.  The roads were not paved but rather dusty and muddy and littered with all types of animal material left behind (if you catch my meaning).  Open sandals were the norm of fashion which really didn’t do anything to keep the elements of all that had been stepped on out.  Feet stank and were blistered, sore, and probably repulsive to us today.  No such thing as a pedicure back then.

Yet, here is the Savior, bending below the lowest servant washing the filth away.  Is this not a precursor to what He would shortly do on the cross, stooping below the lowliest to wash all the filth and stink of sin away forevermore?  The things that are repulsive, gross, and out of order with the beauty of the life God designed, Jesus bows to wash it all away.  No wonder His rebuke to Peter sounded harsh, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”  Jesus knew better than anyone that anything man could do to try to remove the filth of sin away was inadequate.  One needed to be washed by Jesus.

Despite popular belief, there are not many roads to heaven.  Jesus very clearly stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” John 14:6.  I cannot overemphasize those two words NO ONE.  That means no exceptions.  That means no matter how good one thinks they are if they have not gone through Jesus, if He has not cleansed them from their sins, they will not walk those dirty feet on His heavenly streets.

Wash me, Jesus!  If there are any impurities, any sin, anything that keeps me from You, cleanse me and make me whole.  “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” John 13:9.  From the top of me to the bottom, from the inside out, wash me and suit me to live forever in heaven with Thee!

Today, turn to Jesus and seek His cleansing salvation!  Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5).  Each person has the responsibility to turn to Jesus with a heart faith and in true repentance.  “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

“The Treasure of the Heart”

The heart holds so much in it, and it is there in the heart where we store and follow the things that are most important to us. There, in that place, is where the things we treasure reside.

To God, the heart matters. David is quoted as being a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), and rightly so. Though he made mistakes in his life, and though he sinned before God, his heart never stopped beating after God. When faced with his wrongs, David didn’t make excuses for his behavior. He repented of them and sought forgiveness.

Solomon, David’s son, was a man especially blessed by God in a way no man had ever been blessed. He was endowed with extraordinary wisdom and wealth (1 Kings 3:9-13; 29-34). God also told Solomon, “And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days,” (1 Kings 3:14).

Although his riches and wisdom abounded, the heart of Solomon turned away from following the Lord and went after false gods (1 Kings 11:1-8). His heart was “not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father,” (1 Kings 11:4). Thus, we see a great comparison between those who follow God with their all and those who don’t, and that comparison starts in the heart.

Although God had appeared to him twice and specifically said this shouldn’t be done (1 Kings 11:10), Solomon, because of the women he loved, allowed his heart to be filled with the false ways of their false gods, which in turn, turned his heart from following the one and only true God.

Friends, we must mind the heart with all diligence. Proverbs instruct us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,” (4:23). Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh,” (Luke 6:45; see also Matthew 15:18-20; Mark 7:20-23).

What treasure is your heart holding? As we go through life, there will be times when we must take a heart examination to make sure it is in good health producing good treasure. This world can wreak havoc on a heart and if one is not careful, the heart can become tainted and impacted in a very negative way.

David took the matters of his heart seriously. When he sinned against the Lord he sought to realign his heart to the will of God. Instead of ignoring the problem and letting the problem grow worse and worse, David took his heart before the Lord, and prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).

What David showed us is, if one does not like what the heart is producing or has produced, we can take these matters of the heart before God and seek His help to get it straight. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise,” (Psalm 51:17).

It is in the heart where we store up our trust in God (Proverbs 3:5). It is there in the heart where we hide God’s Word (Psalm 119:11). It is in the heart where we show our true love for God (Matthew 22:37). And, it is in the heart of man that God looks upon and judges (1 Samuel 16:7).

Outwardly, Solomon seemed to have everything, but inside he lacked what God was looking for the most – a heart that was after Him.

A heart that is after God is a heart that has prepared itself to be after God. There are so many choices one can turn to and each choice will fill us with something. When Solomon made his choice to fill his life with that which is false, false ways and ideas took root in his heart and led him astray.

In comparison, even in his wrongs, David took his heart to God, admitted his wrongs (Psalm 51:4), and sought restoration (Psalm 51:12).

When one seeks to have a heart filled with the things of God, God will fill it, and that filling will produce beautiful treasure.

Material wealth will fade, but the treasure of one’s heart will follow them through all eternity. What treasures are you storing today?

Lord, increase me in You. Help me to look to You and Your ways continually. Help me to keep my heart and my feet on Your righteous pathways. Fill me up with more of You till my life and my heart is overflowing with Your good treasures. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!

“God is worthy of so much more!”

Have you ever filled a glass to the brim, and just when you thought it could not hold any more liquid, you added another drop, then another, and still another?  So far it has not overflowed, so carefully, and oh so gently, you continue to go just to see when enough is enough.

Can I tell you, we can push ourselves to what we think are our natural limits in praising God and it will still never be enough.  There is no quota that can really satisfy the complete exaltation of God who has done so much for us.  There is no sufficient amount of thankfulness, sacrifice, or service that says I have completed my duty to the Lord.  To Him, whom the Word declares, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11) – to Him, who will “liberally” give wisdom if asked (James 1:5) – to Him, whom we can lift our eyes to daily, and find the help and strength we need (Psalm 121:1-2) – to Him, we can never, ever exhaust our worship!  God is worthy of so much more!

Reading in 1 Kings, I came across the historical telling of king Solomon at the temple dedication.  There, “Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace-offering unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep…” (1 Kings 8:63).  Did you see those numbers? That’s 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep – wow! Earlier in the same chapter when “the ark of the LORD and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.  And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assemble unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude,” (1 Kings 8:4-5).

In other words, there was no limit to their praise for the God of all glory!

The psalmist once wrote, “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments,” (Psalm 119:164).  There is no cap for the honor due to His name.  To him, God is worthy of so much more!

While there may be a lot of things we cannot control in this world, one thing we can still do is give God the praise – and lots of it.  That’s why David declared, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth,” (Psalm 34:1) when he had to act crazy before a king to save his life.

We may not understand everything, but we can still praise.  That’s what Paul and Silas did in prison, they prayed and praised God (Acts 16:25). 

We may wrestle with hurts and disappointments, but we can still praise. 

We may not even have all the answers, but we can still offer up to God the glory and praises due to Him, and lots of it (Psalm 29:1-2).  Just when you think it’s enough, in the heart of a true believer, there’s still more room for praise.  Like those drops of water, we can add another reason to praise, and another, and still another. So, let His praises overflow in your life today.  Whether it’s a loud, vocal praise, or a song of adoration you carry in the heart – Praise Him!  Because in joyous times or in hard times, God is still worthy of our praise, and so much more!

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.