Devotional for March 24, 2021

Greetings in Christ,

  I am sure we all have heard the statement-you made the mess now you have to clean it up.  Along with these statements:  you made your bed now you have to lie in it; you have made a big mess of everything how are you going to clean it up?  I think you get the idea.  It’s about making messes and for us to take the responsibility to clean up our mess.  Our parents probably have applied this lesson to us by making us clean our rooms or doing dishes as a child.  As a result, we have been taught to be responsible for cleaning up our own messes.

  We had this lesson handed down to us from generation to generation.  It is a lesson we all had to learn when we begin to know right from wrong.  It is something we all had to learn the hard way.  We try to avoid making messes because we know cleaning up the mess can take a lot more time and effort. 

  Here is an example of my painting experience one day.  I was painting a small office which had a big desk in it.  Room was tight and the walls were tall.  A ladder was needed to paint the upper portion of the walls, and with the big desk it did not leave much room for the ladder.  While moving the ladder up and over the top of the desk it began to fold up (it was straddling the desk).  As the ladder folded up, it knocked over a half full can of paint spilling on the newly carpeted floor.  Needless to say it took seconds to make a mess, but it took hours to clean up.

  Living a Christian life is a lot like cleaning up a mess.  What seems to take just a short time to make a mess results in a long time cleaning up.  We struggle to clean up our past mistakes and what we have done, but we sometimes go about it in the wrong way.  We want to take charge and clean up our mess, but we cannot take on the huge task of doing it right on our own.  While we may have been a part of making the mess, our mess started a long time ago.

  We try to clean up our own mess from some deep need we have learned.  We have been taught to clean up our own mess from our parents, but God has put this desire deep within us.  God has been working to clean up our mess for generations, and when we try to do our own cleaning it hampers God’s process.  We want to clean our own mess, but it is God who can do it right.

  Jesus gave us instructions on how we turn it over to God.  “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

  We must bear our own cross when we decide to follow Jesus.  The first step is to deny our own life, and by doing this we lay everything at the foot of His cross.  This means we give everything to Jesus.  We then let Him and God take control of our lives.  We no longer need to worry about how to clean up our mess because Jesus and God have agreed to do the cleaning for us.  We create a problem by picking up our mess pick and hang onto it.  We create unnecessary burdens for ourselves in our Christian walk by hanging on to our mess.

  As our creator, God knows what is best for us, and Paul gives us some more advice to help us.  “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

  A runner prepares for a race by getting rid of any excess weight.  They want to run as fast as they can and with endurance for the long haul.  They need to be as light as they can in order to do this.  In the same way we need to set aside our mess so we can run the race with Jesus.  We set aside all the things which may hold us back allowing Him and the Father to clean up our mess as we run the race.  It is when we do this we can run the race with confidence striving to reach the finish line.       

  “I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever.  Every day I will bless You,
and I will praise Your name forever and ever.  Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.  On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.  They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.  The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.  The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.  All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, and Your godly ones shall bless You.  They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.   The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down.  The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.  The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.  The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.  The Lord keeps all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.  My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.”  Psalm 145

  Lord may we leave our mess with You trusting You will clean it up so we can run the race with confidence.  Amen


  Mark Johnson
  Psalm 118,145; Jeremiah 23:16-32; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Mark 8:31-9:1

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