Summary: We are taught to cover up. We use Tide Sticks, plastic surgery, and White-Out. However, God always seems to call our dirt into the light! This revealing series challenges us to expose the filth in our lives.
Part 1 – Pride and Greed
We are taught to hide dirt. It begins innocently enough. Haven’t you pushed stuff in the closet or under the bed when guests are coming over? Haven’t you dusted around the vase rather than move it? Have you ever only ironed the front of the shirt because you knew that the coat would cover the unironed back?
So we cover up. Our obsession with covering dirt, the unsightly, and the blemish has brought about tide sticks and plastic surgery. We want to look right, look pure, and look clean at all costs. No smudge, no smear, no snags allowed. We cover up the dirt. We play the part. We aren’t as concerned about being clean as we are as keeping up the pretense.
We learned to do this by the examples set early on – Adam and Eve – the patriarch and matriarch of our race tried to cover up and hide their dirt. However, what their account reveals to us is that dirt destroys our relationship with God. This lesson and the serious implications of dirt is driven home in Leviticus 21:21-23. This passage shows us that dirt can keep us from approaching God.
21no man of the seed of Aaron the priest, that hath a blemish, shall come nigh to offer the offerings of Jehovah made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. 22He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy: 23only he shall not go in unto the veil, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I am Jehovah who sanctifieth them.
Dirt disqualifies and interrupts our priestly duties.
Our dirt has been the subject of study for centuries. Dirt is old! Satan’s bag of tricks may get shaken up a bit, but the contents are the same. We have come a long way since Dante penned his Divine Comedy, in 1308, in which he examines the 7 Deadly Sin and then again by one of Popes in the 6th Century. But the more things change the more they stay the same. We still have the same dirt they had.
Dirt even captured the attention of MTV. In 1990’s MTV aired a show called the Seven Deadly Sins. Of course their take was a little different. The narrator, Kurt Loader, told us in the roll in of that program that what we are dealing with are compulsions. He said, "The Seven Deadly Sins are not evil acts but rather universal human compulsions that can be troubling and highly enjoyable."
Is he right? Maybe nothing is wrong with dirt. Maybe we should just dwell on the positive. Why not think of only the good things and preach your OK and I’m OK messages? Like it or not, what the early theologians understood and MTV failed to admit is still true, man has a tendency to sin.
We must examine dirt because in Ephesians 5:27 we are told that Jesus desires to be able to present us, the church, to the Father as a bride that has no spot or blemish.
25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; 26that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Without blemish! Are we without blemish? Are we spotless?
We are told that Jesus will do that by washing us with the water of His Word. As hard as it may be over the next few weeks, as much as it goes against our training and our nature, as painful as it may be and as deep as we must dig to find what we have buried for so long, I want us to bring the dirt into the light. We should know that we can’t hide it from God anyway. He tells us this repeatedly:
Psalm 44:21 – “he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”
Psalm 90:8 – “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence”
Ecclesiastes 12:14 – “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
Romans 2:16 – tells us “God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ.”
I Corinthians 4:5 – “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”
Ephesians 5:12 (Message Bible) It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see.