Growing up in a preacher’s home, my dad often drew spiritual lessons from the work he did around the house. If pulling weeds he talked about pulling out the root of bitterness. When our pup resisted his bath it was the importance of submitting to spiritual authority. If his coffee got cold, he shared about the dangers of lukewarm faith. This may sound funny, but it worked. The parables he created stuck. Looking back, my dad was doing what Jesus loved to do.
I found myself following dad’s example as I did a recent home repair. In July of this year, we moved into a new home in Richmond. After a few weeks a faint smell, like rotting eggs wafted through the kitchen. As days and weeks past it only grew worse.
We decided it was time to check the crawl space. Crawling on hands and knees with a trusty headlamp, I saw the pipe to the garbage disposal completely disconnected. For weeks pools of old food and water slowly rotted away.
The clean up process was not fun. Many 5 gallon buckets of sludge were thrown out. A shop vac took care of the left overs. The slimy black vapor barrier was cut out and thrown away. Contaminated dirt was removed. The final step was to spread dehydrated lime – a pure, white powder powerful enough to stop decay and stench.
Doing this I thought about the crawl space of our life – our hearts. I’m not talking about the physical organ, but the center of our lives, the secret place where our thoughts, dreams, and desires live. In a home, the crawl space houses the guts that make a home work – HVAC, electrical wires, and plumbing. If the crawl space isn’t right, the home stinks. The same with our heart. The Bible commands us to guard our hearts because out of it flows the issues of life.
Question. Is there dirty sludge slopping around in the crawl space of your heart? Is there bitterness, lust, jealousy, anger, envy, hatred, pride, selfishness, a negative outlook? If so, your quality of life and love for the Lord will start to stink.
God’s word is clear. God wants us to have a clean heart. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
How can we know if we need a crawl space clean up? Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Jesus said the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. So, what are you saying to others and to yourself? What’s the talk around the water cooler? What are you saying about others when they’re not around? When the pressure hits, is it poison or passionate prayer?
It’s time to clean out the contamination. First, acknowledge something stinks. Then, take a moment to examine your own heart. Open the crawl space of your heart to God in prayer, confess your condition, and ask for grace. As the smelly dirt under our house was covered in pure white, dehydrated lime, our hearts can be covered by the grace of Jesus Christ.
Psalms 51:7 says, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”