CONFESSION: I almost didn’t post this article because as the title suggests I use the word ‘crap’ quite a lot in it. I am fully aware that this might be offensive to some and I may well lose followers and subscribers because of it. But after praying about it I am settled in my mind that I am not just using it to be flippant or unnecessarily shocking. Rather, I believe that it’s a strong word that is wholly appropriate for the thoughts I wish to convey. I hope as you read on you’ll get what I mean. If, however, you are likely to be offended then I suggest you don’t continue. OK, here goes…
There’s one thing that I really DON’T like about being a dog owner – CRAP!
Now I appreciate that’s not a particularly pleasant word. Unacceptable to some. But it’s not meant to be nice – cos what it is ain’t nice!
I don’t appreciate having to bend down and pick up the parcels of pooh that our loopy labrador, Cassie, likes to deposit in the local park each day. Few things disgust me more than sliding my cold hand into a sweaty plastic bag on a frosty morning, grabbing hold of a steamy heap and then trying to tie the bag up tight before the fumes rise up and make me gag whilst simultaneously burning my eyeballs!
However, once I’ve got that bad boy bagged up, let me tell you what I don’t do with it:
- I don’t slip it into my pocket and keep it with me for the rest of the walk.
- I don’t carry it home and put it on the mantle-piece to share it with the family.
- I don’t snap photos of it (apart the one above for the purpose of this post) and share it with the world on Social media
- And I sure as sugar don’t take it upstairs to my bedroom and pop it under my pillow for safe keeping!
No, what I do is leg it as fast as my arthritic ankles will carry me to the nearest bin and I ditch that sack ASAP! Why? Cos it’s dirty, diseased, stinky, filthy and foul. Why would I want to hold onto something like that and keep it so close?
That would be crazy…
But here’s the thing, while we wouldn’t dream of clinging on to a sack of dog muck, there is still plenty of other crap that we do hang on to.
Am I wrong?
I’m not going to speculate what filth you might be holding onto right now, but let me just spill out some of the crappy contents of the sacks I’ve dragged around for much of my life:
- Guilt – the inescapable reality and remorse for all the evil things we’ve done and the good things we haven’t done. Guilt has been like a shadow that I couldn’t shake off no matter where I turned or what I did. I was guilty and I knew it!
- Fear – the cold, lonely terror that haunts us as we try to face life without trusting in God. Fear has robbed me of more sleep, more joy and more peace than pretty much anything else in my life.
- Anger – the violent rage that rises inside as we respond to people and circumstances that get in the way of our agendas. The fire of furious anger has raged in my heart for much of my life, causing unbearable internal carnage and damaging the lives of those around me.
- Lust – the seedy, seductive, addictive, illicit desire for whatever and whoever is illegitimate and off limits. Lust is one the biggest issues I have wrestled with throughout my life.
- Pride – the relentless, frankly ridiculous obsession with ourselves, coupled with our refusal to give up the thrones of our lives. My sinful, selfish pride is the source and centre of all my vices, failures and mistakes.
- Despair – the inevitable desperate destiny of a soul that refuses humility, confession and repentance. I have spent more years hating myself and the world around me than I bare to remember. I am a hopeless god and an impotent saviour.
That’s just a tiny peak into the vile contents of the sack that I dragged around for so much of my life. It stunk so bad. I hated it, but it’s like I had no choice other than to hang on to it cos I couldn’t get rid of it…
That was until Jesus invaded my life!
If you don’t know Jesus, let me tell you about Him. He’s awesome. He knows all the filth in our lives. All the crap we’ve done, but rather than citing His own holiness as a reason to steer clear of us, He chose instead to step towards us in grace and to take the whole sack of crap out of our hands and dispose of it for us. He did that by dying on the cross bearing the full weight of all our sin, our guilt, our pain and our shame. He received the full judgement that we all deserve for our sinful lives. He was buried with our sin, then rose again without it, holding out instead the gift of a brand new life. Life that’s abundant, eternal, and filth-free. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. This is the gospel truth that changed my life! The trade goes something like this:
We give Jesus our sin.
All of it.
He gives us His righteousness.
All of it.
Here’s how Paul puts it:
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
– 2 Corinthians 5 v 21
New Year’s Eve provides us with an unmissable opportunity to take a good, hard, honest look at our lives. To gaze within our true selves. Into all the nooks, crannies, dark corners and closed-off closets of our hearts.
- What is lurking there right now?
- What crap is still stinking your life out?
- As this year draws to a close, what do wish that you could leave behind?
- What have you done this year (or in previous years) that you fear will continue to stalk you in 2017?
Dear reader, I know this post has been crude and uncomfortable and I honestly haven’t written this way for the sake of it. I just really, Really, REALLY want you to be rid of all the stinking sin that ruins your relationship with God and others. To be free from the filth of the past that wrecks your present and robs your future of peace, hope and joy.
Please accept the words I’ve written as an impassioned plea for you to leave all your crap at the foot of the cross, to embrace Jesus Christ and joyfully grab hold of the grace upon grace that He offers with both hands!
I urge you to ditch your crap sack today and step into the new year with freedom, fresh faith, renewed hope and a clear conscience.
Grace to you!