Even the Maytag repairman couldn’t find time to fix it. After 22 years our washing machine died. That includes raising three boys and cleaning all the filth they could find. When the machine began to squeal and oil began to leak, we knew the end was near.
Last night we bought a new machine. It’s a Whirlpool Cabrio, 5.0 cubit feet of washing power. (It has a clear top so mindless husbands can watch the action.) As with most machines it’s an easy setup that even a preacher can accomplish. So I had them load it in the truck, drove home and unloaded it into the garage. After a while it was in a running. But along the way I learned a few cool lessons.
You Have to Move Out the Old Before You Can Bring In the New
Before the new machine could take its place and begin working, the old machine had to be taken away. Old habits need to be eliminated as we move toward a purer, more Godly life. This process of removing the old, bad habits is repentance. Twice Jesus said, “…unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3-5). Peter said again when he called people to repent and avoid the eternal punishment that is sure to come (2 Peter 3:9). In Acts 17:30 Paul said that God wants all people to repent.
Repentance is a process. It does not happen instantly. Habits are hard to break and old associations are even harder to rend. I am convinced that only through the power of Jesus Christ can we complete the repentance process. Those who wait to become a Christian until their life is cleaned up may never come to Christ.
There’s A Mess To Cleanup
As we wrestled the old washing machine out of the laundry room we were greeted by a horrendous mess of dirt, oil, grease, dust and trash that had accumulated under the washing machine. It had to be cleaned and my sweet bride did the duty.
Our old lives often leave remnants of dirt and damage behind. We call them consequences. As ugly as they may be they still need to be cleaned. Where possible Christians should seek forgiveness of those offended and restitution where needed. Be reconciled to those you hurt quickly, even before you worship (Matthew 5:23-24).
Even with powerful cleaning some stains will remain. The ravages of drugs and alcohol last forever. Immorality leaves enduring scares too. Let the stains serve as reminders of where you were – not where you are going.
Hook-Up It Up Right
Hookup for a washing machine is pretty simple. Plug it into the electrical outlet. Hook up the hoses. Attach the drain pipe. Go to work. Last night I discovered that my hot and cold water taps were mislabeled! I had carefully attached the cold water line to the blue cold tap. The hot went to the red. When we tried a cold wash we were met with very hot water!
make sure that you plug into the correct source for answers to life’s questions. The world doesn’t have the answers. God does.
Let me say something bold: NEVER TRUST YOUR PREACHER – NOT EVEN ME. I would hope that preachers are devout students of the word who preach and teach only truth. Still, your soul is worth too much to entrust to someone else. Your preacher is not the source of truth. He may pass on truth. He is not the source. Only God is.
Give It Time to Work
After we hooked up our new super-duper washing machine we wanted to see it work. So Bobbi and I stood and watched it go through it’s cycles. Water in. Wash. Agitate. Drain. Rinse, Spin. But it took time. I guess I killed at least an hour watching it run!
God will do great things with your life if you let him. Submit to him and he will draw you closer (James 4:8). Like a talented potter, God will craft us into beings to serve him (Isaiah 64:8). But the change is not instant. Christianity is about growth. We need time to learn. We have to absorb the word. We have to put it into practice. We will struggle through many “cycles” in our spiritual journey. But given time they will all end in a great way in the presence of the Lord.
Four lessons from a washing machine. Can you think of others? Leave your comments below.