During the past week I’ve been working on our ministry’s motor home, having rebuilt the engine, and now working on the transaxle.  Let me say, you don’t know what dirty is until you’ve worked on a diesel vehicle. I mean, diesel grease is tenacious and if you get near it, it’s on you and doesn’t easily come off.  It gets into your skin and not much will remove it.   And every day working on it reminds me of what our Savior has done for us.

It doesn’t take ten minutes working on that thing until my skin is so black with diesel grease it seems as if there’s no hope of ever getting it off.  You can wear a long sleeved shirt and gloves, but that stuff gets on you no matter how careful you are.  There are nooks and crannies abounding that are filled with grease hazards that just lie in wait for you.  Sort of like life.  You know the bad stuff is out there and you try to avoid it, but we live in a dirty world, ruled by the devil.

At the end of the day I scrub and scrub, using different kinds of soap, to get off what the other soap left behind, and yet some grease remains defiant despite my best efforts to remove it.  Isn’t our life like that?  Each of us are “stained” in our own ways, and we don’t want to be that way, so we try this and that to clean up, and it helps, but doesn’t quite get the job done.  We can do all the “self-help” stuff, but some things only God can fix.

We don’t need anyone to tell us we are all sinners, deserving of the judgment and wrath of God.  We know it and don’t need churches telling us how bad we are, and how underserving of mercy we are.  We know that, because the devil takes care to remind us daily.  After all, it takes one to know one, right?  So he works diligently to remind us of our transgressions against God, all our sins, stains, dirty works and unclean thoughts, he never misses an opportunity to spot a mess and point it out to everyone.  In fact, he brings his helpers to watch over us to point accusing fingers at us and saying to God, “Hey God, look at what ___________ is doing.” Your name goes in the blank, by the way. And of course, he enlists all your friends and family to help, too.  Ever notice how your friends and family seem to know your every bad habit?  Share the joy, right?

We all have this “hole” in us that only God can fill.  We come with it built in from the factory, so to speak.  We try to fill it with “stuff”, whether it be money, houses, cars, status, career, family members, hobbies, whatever.  And in the course of bouncing around from one of those to the other, we get dirty, like when you work on a diesel.  We try to justify things we do, after all, we just want to be happy, right?   So we go to church sometimes, thinking THAT WILL CLEAN ME UP.  But how often have you gone to church, looking to “clean up”, and left feeling just like you did when you went in?  You see, just going into the laundry room doesn’t clean you up, any more than going into a barn would make you a mule.  It takes something more than what you have to get the job done.  Of course, the first step in getting clean is recognizing you are dirty, and so often that realization is ignored because we just don’t want to admit we need something we cannot do for ourselves.

It isn’t hard to recognize when we are sick that we need to be well.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that sickness is not the normal state for the body.  There’s just something in us that knows we need to be well.  But our sin problem doesn’t work like that.  We can live in sin for an entire lifetime and never realize it isn’t the normal state of affairs.  That’s because the devil makes us blind to our sins for the most part.  And even if we know we are sinners, we justify ourselves in knowing the next person is a worse sinner than we are, and so the problem persists.  And the devil makes sin enjoyable to us.  Do you thing people who engage in pornography and illicit sex do so because it is to disgusting to them?  No!  They enjoy it!  It feels good.  It makes them feel satisfied and happy for a while. It’s like that with drugs, the person gets a “high” and can’t wait to do it again.  Oh, they can stop “anytime they want to” they say, but they are soon trapped and can’t get out.  It’s the same with alcoholics; they can stop when they want to, but they just don’t want to.  They need help with the “want to”.

Maybe it isn’t sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  Maybe it’s gossip, backbiting, envy, jealousy or hatred.  Maybe it’s lying or stealing, or cheating on your taxes.  Maybe it’s depression and low self-esteem.  Maybe it’s gluttony or some other type of addiction.  Maybe it’s just the knowing something isn’t right somewhere in your life, and you want it fixed, but you don’t know how.  Let me give you the solution for every problem you are facing right now. His name is Christ Jesus of Nazareth.  He can make you well, clean up your sin problem, and give you a brand new life that is fulfilling and joyful.  He can and will clean you up, and it won’t be with soap and a wire brush, either.

Each of us are different, and the LORD uses His blood to cleanse us from all our sins, no matter how dirty we have gotten ourselves, or for how long we’ve been that way.  You’ve heard that Jesus is coming back for His people, who will be without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. This is your written invitation to be among them.  How He does that is HIS job, not yours. Your job is to come to Jesus just as you are.  Yes, that’s right, come as you are.  But don’t expect Him to leave you that way.  He loves even the vilest sinner and will have mercy if you will just come to Him.  You could be the “dirtiest” person on earth, ever.  But at the end of the day it all cleans up!