It’s often the seedy things of life that interest us
For everything Satan has to offer you is a collection of what Jesus rejected; it is the garbage bin of Jesus Christ. — Felix Wantang
I have a dachshund, though he’s 4 inches from the ground, he is determined to get into our garbage.
I thought he would out-grow this irritating habit, but, he has not.
One day, when I came home from work, he had had an impromptu party and he left tissue confetti all over the living room.
He didn’t have much shame because he ran up wagging his tail in complete happiness, with a small piece of tissue plastered on the side of his face. Sigh.
It is a disgusting thought but my dog thinks garbage is one of the most wonderful things on this earth and he would go to great lengths to live in it if I allowed it.
What’s even more repulsive is we often find garbage just as attractive and we’ll wallow in it. The only difference is the garbage we’re attracted to is not always tangible; the Bible calls it sin.
Garbage is Attractive
I have a friend who has five little boys and Thursday is their favorite day because it is garbage day.
When they hear the truck approaching the neighborhood, they jump onto the couch and brace themselves on the window ledge, all in a row.
My friend hears joy in their squeals of delight as the truck approaches and it is not unusual for the men to return the boys enthusiastic waves.
Many of us find the bad, rotten and moldy things of the world just as fascinating.
God knows this garbage, called sin, is enticing. Proverbs 9:17 (NIV) says, Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious.
God also warns us of the result of wallowing in it.
Proverbs 14:12 (NIV) There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death.
Our ears perk up when someone at work says, “Do you know what I heard so-and-so did?” We now dig around in the garbage of gossip.
When we pass judgment on a family member who makes some decisions we don’t like, we stomp in the garbage of criticism.
When we take a second and third look at the person who is not modestly clothed, we focus on the garbage of lust.
When we “rearrange” the facts of a specific incident, we bury ourselves in the garbage of deceit. Garbage is attractive but when we dabble in it, it always leaves its filthy mark.
In the above verses found in the book of Proverbs, God knows this garbage, called sin, is enticing and warns us of the results of wallowing in it.
Death is a high price to pay for the short amount of pleasure the garbage of sin gives us and as we choose to walk down this pathway, we become spotted and stained by the garbage we are handling.
Garbage Rubs Off on You
In my classroom, my students sit at individual desks. They cough, eat, sneeze and do other things I’d rather not mention here and then, they put their hands on the tops of the desks.
I make it a priority to go over each desk at least once a week with disinfected wipes. I can only clean 3 desks with each wipe because the desks are so filthy.
These dirty desktops are a picture of what we look like on the inside when we’ve been handling garbage.
Proverbs 30:12 (NIV) addresses the condition of those who choose to live in garbage. (There are) those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth.
Whatever we have contact with leaves its mark upon us. The saying, if you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas is a fitting picture of how the garbage of sin rubs off on us.
Unfortunately, this garbage not only contaminates us, but it also spreads to those we are around.
We Must Deal with Our Garbage
One of the most wonderful things about life on this earth is we get to share it with others. We love and receive it in return.
We socialize with and enjoy one another and we work and create things together.
Unfortunately, we taint all of these benefits of living with others with the garbage of sin and the result is we contaminate one another with our filth.
Our love, both given and received, can be conditional. I can pass the filth of betrayal from one person to another.
Though we can enjoy socializing, the garbage of gossip, envy and contempt blackens events. Our work is not free from contamination, either.
Because we live with the stains of selfish competition, this, too, rubs off on others. People during Bible days also experienced this.
In the Old Testament book of Joshua, God instructed His people that as they moved into the Promised Land, they were not to take certain things God said were devoted to Him.
The Israelites would use these things later to build the temple. The book of Joshua gives us the account of Israel’s progressive move into the land of Canaan and in chapter 7 we read of the Israelites preparations to battle against the city of Ai.
As was their practice in anticipation of battle, Joshua sent spies to scout the area so he could develop the best strategy for battle.
The report from the spies revealed that taking over the city of Ai would be an easy victory as there were few fighting men there. Joshua gathered a smaller army and they fought against Ai and were defeated by them.
Joshua 7:5 (NIV) reports the men of Ai: “who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.
Joshua 7:20–21 reveals the garbage of disobedience, pride and selfishness of an Israelite named Achan, who sinned by taking and hiding the items devoted to God.
The results of this garbage rubbed off on the Israelite army, and a battle that should have held an easy victory produced death and fear. Garbage.
Steps for Dealing with Our Garbage
Even though the garbage of life is often enticing, we know it contaminates us and others. We must deal with the garbage to keep our hearts and minds clean; we must take the steps to clean our “houses” of this filth.
Step One — We need to realize we are dirty from the garbage of sin
Isaiah 64:6 (NIV) says, All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
We all are filthy from sin. Romans 3:10 (NIV) says, As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one.
Many today dislike God painting with such a wide brush in saying we are all like filthy rags and if this were a pronouncement without a solution, it would be cruel but there is a step two.
Step Two — Even though we are filthy from garbage, God offers His cleaning services.
Though we have all have made the choice to dabble in garbage, God made the choice to clean us up. Romans 5:8 (NIV) says, But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
As discussed earlier, the garbage of our sins rubs off on others. For Jesus to die in our place, our sin was rubbed off on Jesus and then He died to cleanse us.
God’s love shines in this gift. John 15:13 (NIV) says, Great love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
It is humbling for me to realize God loved me this much even though I am dirty from all the garbage I have been rolling in.
This is not the final step of being cleaned of the garbage of sin. When God offers me this cleaning gift, it is not mine until I accept it.
Step Three: We must accept this gift of cleansing.
We know why we are dirty with the garbage of sin. We know why God offers to clean us up so now, we must accept this cleansing.
I John 1:9 (NIV) says, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
It is amazing that God offers this cleansing and by accepting, by faith, that Christ died for me, I am as the Psalmist said in Psalm 51:7 (NIV) Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
We are no longer tainted by the garbage of sin. God’s love cleansed us.