Here’s a hard reality of life: we have a whole bunch of garbage in our hearts and minds – and it tends to produce exactly the outcomes we might expect. So when our lives are bearing the rotten fruit and pain that comes from hearts full of garbage – what do we do? How do we go on? How do we get through?
First, let’s own it: many of us, myself included, have had seasons, childhoods, relationships or even lifetimes that have filled us with garbage of all sorts – some of our own making and some over which we had no control. In the moments of pressure and pain, when we’re squeezed, it’s the worst stuff that comes out. Anger, bitterness, rage, lust, laziness, selfishness, gluttony. When the pressure is on or the pain is real, what comes out of our mouths and is seen in our actions is not pretty.
We know it. Most of us feel terrible when it happens. But we feel stuck. “How do I get this garbage out of me that keeps producing garbage results in my life?”
I want to offer two words of encouragement.
First, there is grace for you. Jesus hanging on that awful, painful cross is exactly what happens when there’s a garbage-filled world that can’t fix itself. And it was the most gloriously beautiful, awful, loving payment which has made us right with God. He died for that garbage – so we don’t have to.
Second, there is hope for now. The gospel of Jesus is not only a gospel for when we die. It’s a gospel for how we live. Right now. Here’s the great news: it’s not complicated, though its also not easy. It is through the simple principles of filling and driving out that we are changed, transformed, sanctified.
So if you, like me, have garbage areas of your life, bring them to Jesus right now. Repent, turn, apologize, cry out – whatever language you need to use – and ask the Holy Spirit of God to fill you, driving out all the unclean things in you. They are real. I believe they are often spiritual in nature, needing a Spirit answer. He is faithful to answer this prayer. And though I’ve found sometimes the piles are deep and difficult, our loving, patient savior keeps working at them as we journey with him.
Here is a daily prayer I pray that I hope will be helpful to you today:
“Jesus, drive out every unclean thing in me by your power. You have defeated the power of sin, and in your name evil, unclean spirits must flee. I command them in your name to flee from me. They have no power over me. Fill me with your goodness, Holy Spirit and bear your good fruit in me today.”
Grace and Peace,