Take Out the Trash

Take Out the Trash

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us…” Hebrews 12:1 

Mondays in our neighborhood is trash day. At 5 AM the big trucks start coming for the junk that everyone’s collected over the week. We roll our cans out to the curb and wait for someone to come cart it away. As an added bonus, once a month is “Big Trash Day” where we put out the oversized items that don’t even fit in the can.

I was out for my early morning prayer walk, noticing all the cans dutifully lined up on my block when the Spirit of the Lord said to me, “It’s time for you to take out the trash.” I knew immediately what He was referring to. Yes, I had mouthed the words of forgiveness years ago, but my heart was still harboring the offense and keeping a record of wrongs. There was a wall up, a root of bitterness in me, that was keeping His love from flowing freely.  

When trash piles up, there’s a stench, there’s clutter; there’s ugliness that mars the image of our home. When offenses, hurts, and bitterness pile up in our hearts, there’s a stench, clutter and ugliness that mars the image of Christ in us. The Lord calls us to get rid of the things that encumber us and the sin that so easily entangles us. Only then can we run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebr. 12:1). Only then can we be perfected in love.

Jesus is the ultimate trash collector. He took our “trash” upon Himself and bore the penalty of it at the cross. He made a way for us to be emptied of filth, washed, and filled with His love through the Holy Spirit. Coming to Jesus and confessing our sins is like taking out the trash. We lay down our failures, guilt, shame, and acts of selfishness and disobedience. We surrender our offenses, hurt feelings, records of wrongs, and bitterness. Self-righteousness, judgments, expectations, and entitlements need to go too. Consider the things that we had no business looking at or listening to that grieved the Spirit of God last week. What about the unwholesome, careless words we spoke that defiled us and tore somebody else down? Let’s face it – some of this is “big trash” that doesn’t even fit in the can anymore.

Let’s not let the enemy sow division in our families, our neighborhoods, or in the Church. Are you harboring bitterness or unforgiveness? Are you not talking to someone and waiting for them to be the first one to apologize? Are you holding a grudge because someone didn’t meet your needs? Are you shutting someone out because they didn’t meet your expectations? That’s not how Christ loved you. It’s time to take those things to the curb.

As followers of Christ, we are being transformed into His image. We’re called to have this mind among ourselves which is ours in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8) In His birth and in His death, He emptied Himself. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return. When He suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to His Father who judges justly. (I Peter 2:23) He loved well. When we die to the “Self Life” and allow His Spirit to reign within us, we can too.

Let’s put on the mind of Christ and empty ourselves of pride, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, entitlement, and whatever else defiles us. Let’s let the love of Christ control us (II Cor, 5:14), not wounds and offenses. Only then can the love of God be manifested in us. Mondays have become a good reminder of the need to regularly bring my junk to the cross, and let Jesus cart it away. Brothers and sisters, let us walk in the light and not let anything mar the beautiful image of Christ in us. Let’s be mindful to take out the trash.

“Father, forgive me. I’ve held onto things that defile me, weigh me down, and block the flow of Your love through me. You say, ‘Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing shall offend them.’ (Ps. 119:165) ‘Love keeps no record of wrongs.’ (I Cor. 13:5) I confess that I have chosen to be offended, clung to my rights, hardened my heart, and kept a record of wrongs. I empty myself to be perfected in Your love. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Help me to see those who have hurt me through Your eyes. Help me to show love and mercy as You have shown it to me. Use this offense for Your glory, and through it make me more like Jesus.”

Lisa Moore