At some point on a typical Monday, I usually find myself in the laundry room. After a busy weekend, I often have at least three or four loads of dirty clothes to wash. Since we bought a new washing machine fairly recently, I can't say that I even mind doing laundry. The machine is one of those new-fangled, energy efficient, front loaders that plays a happy little tune when it's finished washing my clothes. My husband and I even joked about setting up a couple of chairs in the laundry room so we could enjoy watching a full cycle.
A friend and I were talking about washing machines today and I got to thinking about her observation. She said that she knew her old machine needed to be replaced because the agitator wasn't working as it should, yet it hadn't completely stopped functioning, so she continued to use it a while longer. It was only after replacing the washing machine, that she discovered the old machine hadn't been doing a thorough job. After washing clothes in the new machine, the clothes were noticeably cleaner. The dinginess disappeared, leaving brightness in its place.
What an amazingly accurate illustration of what often happens in our lives. After salvation, we begin the Christian life with boundless energy. We're grateful for what Christ has done for us, so we want to share our experience with others. We grasp the truth in Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (KJV) We're like the new washing machine. We operate as God created us to function.
Time passes. People may not be as receptive to our message about Christ. Others are downright rude. Our feelings get hurt and we are distracted from Christ's calling, spelled out in the book of Mark, "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15, KJV) We become less bold, and like the agitator in the old washing machine, we slow down. We begin missing the opportunities that God puts in front of us. Because we haven't completely stopped witnessing for Christ, we don't notice the coldness that has slowly crept into our heart.
It's only when we allow the Holy Spirit to put His finger on those things that are preventing us from being used to our full potential, that we can once again function like the new washing machine. We agree with God that there is a problem. We confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness. We're restored and able to reach our potential once again. At this point, we can look back and see the difference. The dinginess has disappeared, leaving brightness in its place. The psalmist David, cried out to God, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalms 51:10, KJV) What will your prayer be today?