Spill on Aisle 2!
I worked in a grocery store from the time I was 15 all the way through my first year of college. I quickly learned the words, “Spill on aisle 2” could mean almost anything.
Pee was yuk (and not technically a spill). Sugar and flour were fairly easy to sweep. Jelly was no fun.
The worst was syrup.
Syrup was fluid, so it seeped into cracks and hidden escape routes. It was sticky so a mop or wet rag didn’t work. A hot rag was required. Glass shards hid in its sticky fingers, so you were pretty much guaranteed to get cut. Even if you didn’t, you worried that a sliver of glass was stuck somewhere on the floor, and the next spill on Aisle 2 would be someone’s blood.
When I graduated to cashier, I was ecstatic. No more spills.
Until the day I was talking with a customer and missed the bag, dropping an extra-large glass bottle of Griffin’s syrup. It shattered at my feet. There’s nothing more exciting than having 32 ounces of syrup splattered in a 2′ x 2′ space with broken glass and syrup clinging to almost every available surface, including me.
Can we just admit that clean-up isn’t fun, but especially when it’s due to your own bad choices.
Yesterday we talked about faith when you’ve left a trail of brokenness behind.
This is faith that asks you to face the mess, do the hard work, and yet hold tight to the truth that God loves you fiercely in the midst of it.
We discussed facing the mess, but on day #17 of Believing Big When You Feel Small, let’s talk about hard work and how to hold on to the truth that God loves you fiercely even when you’re wading through the consequences of your bad choices.
Doing the hard work
Have you ever said something to someone and it was unkind? You knew it. You could see the effect on their face. You wished you could take it back, but it was out there in the open and there was nothing you could do about it.
Did you pretend it didn’t happen, silently commanding everyone else to pretend as well?
Did you point out the things that they did wrong, instead of owning your own actions?
Did you ask them to give you grace, without acknowledging that it hurt them?
I know you, friend. I know many of you by name, and I know how much you love the Lord. I know that you want nothing more than to show who Jesus is through your life.
And yet I also know me, and over the years I have done all of these. None of them are reflective of who I really am. Instead, it’s reflective of the battle going on in all of us.
Paul describes it like this:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Romans 7:15-24 (NIV)
There’s a real battle.
The battle is real. Our sinful nature is shouting at the part of us that loves God.
When we avoid the hard work of cleaning up our mess, we leave shards of hurt everywhere. When we avoid it, or try to make someone else responsible for it, we remain stunted in our spiritual growth.
When we do the hard work of cleaning up our messes, it may take time. We may need help as we do it. Yet, every time we do the hard work, we step into who we really are.
Let’s look at one more important faith factor.
We aren’t condemned.
Romans 8:1 reminds us that there isn’t condemnation for those who follow Jesus. That means — well, exactly that. We aren’t condemned for our past choices, because we’ve been forgiven. Instead, we have help.
The Holy Spirit knows what we need. He knows who we are. Even in the mess. https://ctt.ec/k82Rf+ @suzanneeller
The Holy Spirit leads us to a path of life — growth, self-control, joy, forgiveness. . . and even if it takes time, and even when rebuilding trust isn’t easy, there’s help for us because we matter to God (Romans 8:14).
Are you hearing “Clean up on Aisle 2?” Faith will help you through it. Faith will grow you. Faith will celebrate what God is doing in you.
Day #17 of Believing Big When We Feel Small
Q: Do you identify with Paul’s battle in Romans 7?
Q: Name some of the reservations we might have about doing the hard work of cleaning up after our bad choices? I’ll start: it’s been too long ago; they are still mad at me; it won’t do any good; I don’t know what to say/do.
Q: How important is it to pray before you do anything, and why?
Share about a person who did the hard work, and how that impacted you or someone else in a positive way.
Don’t Miss Your Mercy Moment with Suzie Eller and KLRC