Clean Up

Today’s Passage: 2 Timothy 2:20-22 

A few weeks ago we celebrated our son’s birthday at my mom’s house. It was our first time celebrating his birthday with all of our family, so it was a special occasion. So special in fact, that we went out and bought a new shirt just for the day. It was a Under Armour shirt of his current favorite college football team in one of those neon colors that he loves.

And of course, by the end of the day, Clean Upthe birthday boy was a mess. Every manner of sticky sugar, sweat, and backyard dirt combination you can think of was on his face, shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, and feet. And of course, he wasn’t the only messy kid, and he had an incredible day of uninhibited backyard play with his school friends. And for the most part, they had no idea they were a mess. They were just having fun. It wasn’t until he started to peel off the layers and dump out his shoes that he became cognizant of his mess. (Look at my sweat, Mom!)

Do you unabashedly pursue youthful passions until you find yourself in a big mess? When was the last time you assessed your mess?

As always, Paul rolls instruction, encouragement, and admonition into his letters, and as chapter 2 begins to wrap up, he offers images of a vessel getting cleaned up and prepared for good work to weave together a message about what to do and what not to do.

We are God’s vessels. We have to be willing to confront that which is dirty in our lives and clean it up if we want to move forward in this faith journey. 

God is indeed full of grace and love, and He has the power to heal us, restore us, and make us beautiful vessels for His glory. But we should want to make choices to stay out of the sticky, sweaty, dirty mess to move forward.

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Tim. 2:20-21)

I believe the Bible gives us ample stories to remind us that God can use us in whatever shape we are in. But when we are clean, we put ourselves in the ready position to be on mission right away. Ready for every good work.

Are you in the ready position?

As a good teacher, Paul does not leave Timothy, or us, without instruction on what to do. In the next verse, he gives a powerful “so.”

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Tim. 2:22)

If we want to stay clean and be in the ready position, we must actively turn away from youthful passions. And when I think of youthful passions, I think of that birthday party once again. There was quite a bit of fun, but also quite a bit of “mine,” “but I want,” “no, I’m not sharing” and so on. We are called to turn away from those selfish impulses and to go after what looks like God–righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

What are you going after? What do you need to clean up today?

When we are enduring, we cannot get so locked into the circumstances of our journey that we forget our goals–to look more like Him, to love Him and others wholeheartedly, to share peace, to put others before ourselves. No matter is what happening around us, we must not run to our youthful passions but run after Him. And by the power of His Spirit and through the sacrifice of His Son, we can do it!

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