A good cleaning increases usefulness
There are a few maintenance jobs around the house that I know need taking care of and some of them are so undesirable that I am guilty of putting them off longer than I should. One such dreaded piece of work is cleaning our fans. Even though we have a central air system, we also have several fans in the house in various locations to keep air circulating (and we find the hum of a smooth running fan to be rather soothing, too). But over time they accumulate lint and other debris on the inside that has to be removed. I embarked upon that long overdue job last week.
I started out hoping that a good blast of compressed air would make the blades nice and clean, but that did not quite do what I wanted. That meant it was time to drag out a few tools, take the units apart and give them a little elbow grease. With a total of five fans to clean, it took a pretty good bite out of my day.
When I dismantled the fans and got a good look at what was hiding on the inside, I was rather amazed. Little by little, without being obvious while it was happening, tiny particles of lint from the air were pulled in by the force of the spinning blades and attached to the inside of the fan. But I was even more amazed after the cleaning was done and I put the fans back into service (it was probably pretty significant, too, that I had no parts left over when I finished!) at how much better they sounded and operated—they were like brand new again!
Blowing a little loose material off with compressed air would have improved the looks of things and probably would have given a little short term improvement to the fans’ function, but the real need was deeper than that. It took some time and effort, but it paid off.
As I read the words of Ephesians 5:15-16, I am reminded of how we need to watchful of what becomes attached to the inner parts of our lives: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (New International Version). Like lint in the air, the atmosphere that we conduct life in everyday is filled with all sorts of ungodly things that want to find their way into our hearts, accumulate there, and hinder our effectiveness for Christ.
In chapters four and five of Ephesians, there is an abundance of guidance regarding how we should conduct ourselves to honor and please God. Paul, the writer, reminds us of behaviors to avoid and actions and attitudes that should be incorporated into our lives. Only God can reach into the depths of our hearts and take away the sinful debris that has accumulated there so that we can be spiritually clean, useful, and honoring to Him; He calls us to live new lives in Christ Jesus. One writer states that “God is both the author and the pattern of this changed life.” That is, through Christ He made spiritual newness available and by faith it can become a personal reality. Ephesians 4:24 tells us to “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Christ is also the perfect pattern for us to follow. As we look in Scripture at the life of Christ, we find a portrait of what God wants us to look like in the way we conduct ourselves. We are, in fact, told to “Be imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1).
Like those fans that I cleaned last week, your heart might have accumulated some things that are not pleasing to God. Don’t just knock a little off the surface to make you feel better, but let Him reach down deep inside, clean you up, and make you more useful to Him than ever before.