Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stink. Stank. Stunk.

I had been upstairs in my room and was making my way to the main floor of my home. Half way down the stairs it hit me. Like a ton o' bricks, IT hit me. A smell so incredibly pungent I questioned the necessity of breathing. And, I'm not talking about something that was just a tiny bit pungent. I'm talking a whole bunch-a-lot-a, shake your head, hold your nose, eyes watering, run for your lives puh-hun-gent! 

When I reached the bottom step, the source of the stench appeared. Now before I proceed further, let me first say looks can be deceiving. Nearly five foot tall, with red hair, and a cute freckled nose - I assure the stink did not smell anywhere near as cute as it looked!

"Hi mom", it said. My feet were kind of sweaty,
so I took off my socks and shoes."

Lord. Have. Mercy. A gas mask, or better yet, the second coming of Christ would have done a momma some good in that moment. How on earth does so much foulness accumulate in one child's shoes? 

I am always amused by one company's television commercials in which viewers are led to believe the placement of, or spraying of this company's air freshener will mask any odor no matter how intense or significant. To prove their point, they place random, blindfolded folks in a room or vehicle full of trash and other foulness and ask these individuals to state what they smell. Of course, these "random" people consistently indicate how fresh and lovely the air around them smells. Miracle of miracles. What. Ev. They obviously have never smelled my child's shoes! Cause I can tell you there ain't no amount of air freshener that will cover that stink. Sure it might help for a very brief period of time, but stink is stink is stink. This momma knows. And, this momma also knows the only way to ultimately get rid of stink is to clean it up! 

And, sweet little redheaded boy got a shower and his shoes took a plunge in the ol' washing machine. Thankfully, an hour or so later, breathing was no longer painful and all was clean and fresh.

Metaphorically speaking, our spiritual lives can get rather stinky from time to time....While we generally prefer being around that which smells great - when dealing with the messiness of life, sometimes we opt to put on a blindfold and spray some air freshener – in hopes we, and everyone else around us, won't notice the stench. But unfortunately, the longer the mess is ignored, masked, or avoided, the greater the stink becomes...until eventually no amount of scented plug in thing a bobs or amazing air freshener can cover up the odor any longer, and we just flat out stink, stank, stunk. To effectively remove the foulness, people, we gotta get ourselves cleaned up. 

My dad has some experience with covering up stink. Several years ago, my mom attended a week long job training out of town. All went well the first few days mom was gone, but about mid-week my phone rang. It was dad. Mom was due home in a couple of days and a horrible, awful, mysterious odor had taken up residency in their kitchen. Dad had tried everything to figure out the source of the foulness, but to no avail. So, desperate, he called and asked me to come over to sniff out the offender. It didn't take long to pinpoint the perpetrator - a lone piece of raw fish. As it turned out, dad went fishing earlier in the week and used the kitchen sink to clean the fish for cooking. After, prepping the fish, he piled his dishes and utensils in the sink - with the intention of washing them up before mom came home. With each meal thereafter, more and more dishes accumulated in the sink. Unfortunately, that one piece of fish failed to make it into the frying pan and had been sitting under those dishes for days. Sweet Lord. It was bad. It was REAL BAD. And, the only way to get rid of it was to clean it up! After a few hours of cleaning, washing, and disinfecting, the house was once again restored to a presentable state AND smell. 

“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”

– Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

I love what David writes in the verse above. David doesn't want to stink, so, in this passage we find him asking God to take look inside him - to search his heart and if there's anything in there that is offensive, or dare I say, stinky, then David asks it be replaced with the Lord's ways – ways that are pure and holy, good and pleasing. That doesn't sound pungent to me. It sounds more like...a breath of fresh air. 

Search me, God, and know my heart. 

I want to lead a life that leaves a pleasing fragrance. I want to resolve to put away the air fresheners and blind folds and all that I have piled on top of my stinky, messy life. Search me, God. Know my heart. Clean my offensive ways, and fill me with the sweet aroma of Christ. Friends, Jesus is the one, and the only, who can rescue us from the muck and mire and stench of sin and shame; and who can clean us up, and clothe us with dignity and grace. Furthermore, the Bible says when we choose to follow Him, He will use us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume (2 Corinthians 2:14 NLT). 

Perfume is mentioned again in scripture in John 12:3.  Here we find Mary's outpouring of worship as she anointed Jesus' feet with expensive perfume and wiped his feet with her hair. The passage says, 

"…the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."

I think if that bottle of expensive perfume had a name, it would be called – worship. I want my life to smell like that. I want to have a heart so filled with Christ that my life gives off the beautiful, fragrance of worship. What does your life smell like? Are you giving off an odor that smells more like stinky shoes or fish in the sink, or are you filled with the fragrance of worship? 

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Lead me Lord. Lead me.