Dirt In Our Layers
It’s market time again and while washing up a large quantity of onions I was struck by the length of time it took to get them clean. Many of them had wounds inflicted by the spade as they were being harvested which now created dirt filled layers. So the necessary peeling of layers and scrubbing with clean water began to try to remove all of the dirt. Finally, after enough layers were stripped off and water applied we were able to get them nice and clean for market! We had managed to get to the true and best version of each onion!
During this project, I was reminded of a similar process we go through as children of God. Throughout life we manage to get a lot of “dirt in our layers” too. Bad decisions, wounds we fail to let go of and forgive, enticement from the illegitimate forms of love and security this world offers, selfish ambition etc. can all lead us to choose paths our Heavenly Father did not design for us. And when we travel those paths we end up infected with the results of something called sin. Sin is anything that “misses the mark” of God’s holiness and causes separation between ourselves and Him (1 Jn. 3:4, Duet. 9:7, Is.59:1-2). There are two of sin’s earliest appearances expounded upon in the bible the first of which centers on Satan, then Lucifer. In Ezekiel 28:12-19 and Isaiah 14 we get a pretty good glimpse of him and just what led him to throw in the entire splendor God had poured out on him. He wanted to be like God and had an insatiable desire for power and authority coupled with an overly exalted self-image. In a second example of sin we see Satan pitching the idea of becoming like God and having His wisdom and power to Eve by tempting her to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen.3). Unfortunately Eve (excuse the pun) bites. She then gave her husband Adam some and he ate it. Thus, sin entered the world (Rom.5:12) and with it came the pain of separation from God as mankind fell from the original position handing over authority over the earth to the devil. The great news, however, is Jesus through His death and resurrection took all the authority back (Matt.28:18) and made restored relationship with Him available to us again through faith.
But when Jesus came, sin didn’t leave.
He certainly went about destroying the works of the devil (1 Jn.3:8) and made that same power available to His followers through His name (Mark 16:17) but sin remains a consistent antagonist to us. So, we fight against it winning some battles and losing others.
Hebrews 12 describes the loving work our Father undertakes in us in order to cleanse us from the ugly, dirty residue sin leaves behind!
Through this work of dealing with sin God the Father returns us to the truest and best version of ourselves too.
“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Heb.12:1
This passage describes “sin” in whatever form, as something which hinders and entangles and is compared with a runners ability to run the race set before them. Sin, then, keeps us from running the way we should run. It hinders us from being all we were meant to be. And so the bible urges us to throw it off!
And this is a process the Father gets involved in with us in our lives through the convicting presence of His Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:8, Gal.5:16-17).
He works to expose one sin which may expose another, perhaps deeper this time, which causes the process to repeat until all our layers are getting cleaned out. The writer of Hebrews likens this work to the loving discipline of a Father to his sons (Heb.12:4-6, 10-11). Although it can be uncomfortable to be made aware of things in us that are contrary to the goodness and holiness of God this process is always guided by His love for us. If we can see the work of our Father in this area of our lives through the lens of His love, we will be much quicker to submit and comply with “throwing” whatever it is “off” in order to be able to run with Him like we never have before!
“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn.1:9 ESV)
The process of “getting us clean” is not extensive for the Father! As soon as we respond to His loving conviction with a heartfelt repentance we are made clean. The next time you are experiencing the gentle nudge of the Father in your heart to deal with something, I hope you will sense the love of the Father and remember His desire for you is to simply be free and able to run like you were made to run! You are His child and He loves you too much to let anything hinder you.