A couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning out a closet when I found a large area of mold in my drywall. What’s a single mom to do? Of course, I called my daddy.
Within 48 hours, we had a plumber at the house to take a look at what we assumed was a leak from the shower. As he began to poke around, his finger went right through the wall! He began to cut out an area of drywall only to find dirt packed in my walls, completely surrounding the tub.
In the dirt, we saw tunnels…
Tunnels created by small critters burrowing under my house. Tunnels created by moles that found an opening around my pipes. Tunnels from critters that have created a huge mess and caused damage to my house.
The dirt was packed so tightly around the entire tub area that it has taken nearly two weeks to clean out the mess. I have had a thick layer of dust all through my house from the process. My allergies have been bugging me from all of the dirt in the air.
We have used a dandelion picker (that’s what my dad calls it), buckets, shovels, and a shop vac. We still need to buy concrete to fill in the area around the pipes. We still have to replace the damaged sheetrock and make sure all of the mold is gone. We have quite a little clean-up project all because a very small critter found a very small opening into our home.
As I reflected on this mess, I began to think about our hearts. My verse for this year is from Joshua 3:5:
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, because the Lord will do wonders among you tomorrow.”
I have been contemplating this verse, knowing that God has amazing plans for me. But, the word that has jumped out at me is consecrate. I’ve asked God repeatedly what the word means, what I need to do to consecrate and prepare myself for the coming blessings.
The word consecrate itself means to set aside as holy or sacred. I think it carries with it the thought of preparing. How do we prepare for God’s blessings? The only answer I know is to examine our hearts, to look at what is buried deep inside and to reach a place of purity and holiness. I have been asking God to clean out anything in my heart that should not be there, anything that is not pleasing to Him.
As I contemplated the mess in my home, I began to think about our hearts. Don’t those pesky little moles remind you of the way sin seeps in undetected?
Let’s start with the entrance. You see, I have a solid foundation in my home. However, as I now know, there are small areas that are left open so that the plumbing can be connected to the drains in the tubs. Because they must be maneuvered to fit precisely, the builders cannot put concrete all the way up to the pipes. That one small opening is all these creatures need. With just a small opening in the foundation, they burrow up through the drain area and completely fill the walls.
It’s the same with sin. If we are not carefully guarding our heart, constantly surrendering our will and hearts to Him, we may find that there’s a crack—perhaps small. Unless we find a way to close that opening, we have left a small opening for sin to seep in. The sins don’t have to be “big” sins like addiction and adultery. It might be failing to care for our body properly. Or a temper problem. Or a profanity problem. Or (in my case) a Diet Coke addiction. Perhaps it’s not even technically a sin (like Diet Coke). But, if God has brought it to your mind and is asking you to deal with it, it may be the crack in your foundation.
The first sign that I had a problem was overlooked. I had found some small piles of dirt in the corners of my bathroom on a number of occasions. However, I simply blamed the dirty bathroom on my teenage boys! I ignored the signs that there was something bigger hidden deep behind my walls. I tried to just clean up the mess when I found it, and then I brushed it off. It wasn’t until I sensed a major problem (mold) that I was willing to look deep within the walls to find the problem.
Perhaps you are seeing small signs from the cracks in your foundation. Maybe you find that you are turning to your crutch (Diet Coke) when you get stressed instead of running to your prayer closet. Maybe you just sense that you could be healthier than you are. Maybe you just have a gnawing that something isn’t quite right. Maybe, like me, you continue to just try to clean up the little piles of dirt that keep appearing instead of digging deep to find out what the root of the problem is. Or, maybe you have discovered a major problem (Diet Coke cause hypoglycemia for me). Maybe you know that you have no choice now but to do some serious digging to find out what sin is buried deep within your heart.
The clean-up from these little creatures has been daunting. It had to get a lot worse, a lot uglier, before it can get better. The damage is done. Now, I have to find a way to block the opening so that the moles no longer have access to my home. I have to clean up the mold. I have to replace sheetrock. I have to paint my walls. And, I have had to haul multiple loads of dirt out of our home! All four of us have taken turns lying on our stomach, poking and prodding with the dandelion picker, sucking up dirt with the shop vac.
It’s the same with our hearts and sin. Once we have allowed sin to have a hold on our hearts, there is damage. Maybe it’s damage to relationships. Maybe it’s damage to our health. Maybe it’s damage to our witness to others. No matter what the sin, there has been damage—and it must be dealt with. You can’t continue to let it hide behind the walls of your heart; you have to get it out and deal with it. You may need to find a counselor who can walk you through the process. Maybe you need a 12 step program that will arm you with the information needed to overcome. No matter what, you need a circle of strong, believing friends who will love you and support you as you clean up the mess.
I don’t know what’s lurking within your heart. Maybe you don’t know either. But, I guarantee that God will always answer a humble prayer to open your eyes to the true condition of your heart. He will always answer a prayer to purify, to consecrate. He will always answer the prayer of one who truly desires to clean up the brokenness of life.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Start the clean-up of your heart before major damage is done. God will faithfully walk through the process with you.