On Sunday Pastor Greg asked the question, “Has trash taken residence in our souls?” I’ve been thinking about that since then in conjunction with this week’s Advent theme of “Repent.” I don’t know about you, but in my house trash has a way of getting out of control. Almost everything I use comes with a lot of packaging. Then there’s the mystery food in my refrigerator; it not only takes up space in the trash can, when discovered, but gives off an odor that demands removal.
Sin is like that, you know? Before you know it, it’s out of control and smelling up who God created us to be – people made in His image. But unlike the reward that comes with simply emptying a trash can, sin seems to stick to us. It’s often found creeping into the familiar or the things we enjoy. Anything that becomes more important than God in our lives is idolatry – and idolatry is sin.
You have to admit that John the Baptist had a way with words! He wasn’t a bit afraid to call out the religious leaders of the day. (I hope no one ever feels the need to speak to me that way!) But one line John speaks, in particular, challenges me. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance,” he admonishes. I don’t know of any fruit that is undesirable, do you? Oh, I know, we may be allergic to some, and not care for the taste of others, but fruit is on every list of sound nutrition, isn’t it? It’s part of a balanced diet.
And therein is my take-away from Sunday’s message: balance. We’re bombarded with temptation (trash), aren’t we? But to keep my trash cans empty I need to be on guard (watch) about what I bring in my house, and I need the help of the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that he’s the One who “convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin” (John 16:8). It’s an ongoing job, for sure!
As we continue our journey toward Christmas this week, look for ways to gather and share the good fruit with others, okay? It’s a sure sign that you’re keeping those trash cans empty and your love tanks full!