Deep Cleaning

[reprinted from August 11, 2011]

Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can these things be?” asked Nicodemus.      John 3:7-9 (HCSB)

Our cat, Cheena, keeps herself clean by licking herself. She removes dirt, and other stuff, off her body by licking. Now this can cause a hairball. (Yes, that is a disgusting picture.) She scratches furniture. She does her business in wrong places and lays out in the middle of the floor or bed like she owns the house. It’s her nature. I would love to deposit a bit of “Jody seed” into Cheena. Just enough to stop her licking and scratching and doing things in wrong places. Does that seem like a weird idea? Well, it was God’s idea before it was mine.

I will take away your stubborn heart and give you a new heart and a desire to be faithful. You will have only pure thoughts, because I will put my Spirit in you and make you eager to obey my laws and teachings.     Ezekiel 36:26-17 (CEV)

God was a heart transplant surgeon long before Dr. Christiaan Barnard did one in 1967.

Nicodemus is tired of trying to have a relationship with God through all the rules and regulations that give no rest. He has tried and tried to get them all correct and it’s impossible. There’s even a sacrifice on Yom Kippur to cover any sins he can’t remember to confess! Nicodemus is looking for a better way and he is desperate enough to visit this Jesus at night in the hope of finding The Way.

God doesn’t clean us superficially like I do a window with a spray cleaner and a rag. He works from the inside – out. So why do I keep falling down? My 6-month-old granddaughter and 1-year-old grandson are just learning to navigate around this world they find themselves in. They spend a lot of time in toys that help them learn balance and scooting and walking. Their parents try to make their home safe from sharp-cornered tables as they stumble and toddle their way through a day. Even my 6-, 7-, 8-, and 13-year-old grandchildren stub their toes and bang their heads on objects that they do not see because they aren’t paying attention. They haven’t experienced or learned to watch for unexpected objects that block the path. Do I live my life like a toddler or a wise, watchful adult?

Jesus tells me that, if I will allow it, He will make me brand new, with the new mind and spirit just like we see in a newborn. There is no old baggage, the dirt and slime of past experiences and injuries. All that is taken from me and I will never have to carry them again. And because of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, I now have a relationship with God, not because of anything I have done or can do, but because of God’s grace, His extravagant love. Jesus can take what seems impossible and make it possible. And He gives His Spirit to remind me of His teachings that help me to stay on the path that leads to eternal life with Him.

As we do our routine cleaning today, wiping the counters, vacuuming, brushing our teeth, or sweeping the porch let us allow our minds to connect with Jesus and allow Him to cleanse us better than clean. Let’s embrace our new life that He offers.

Change My Heart Oh God written and sung by Eddie Espinosa


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