Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time To Do The Dishes

Luke 11:39
Then the lord said to him, “now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness

One of the least favorite jobs of any household is doing the dishes. If you don’t believe me go look in your sink right now or maybe that’s just my sink. Smile. When I make myself do the dishes I use the dishwasher. It cuts the time in half and cleans a whole load without me sticking my hands in that gross dish water, but easier is not always better because when I pull out the dishes some of the more stubborn stains have not come out. The dishes are clean on the outside but dirty on the inside.

When we come to church collectively it’s like being loaded into a large dishwasher. Everyone is under the same shower of praise and worship, everyone gets saturated with the word. It looks like everyone is getting clean but upon further inspection there are some stubborn stains on the inside that haven't come out.

It is only through individualized inspection and introspection that we take notice of our inner dirt. The problem with many of us is that like our dishes we take out of the dishwasher, we reshelve ourselves without even looking on the inside to see that hardened mess that didn’t come out in corporate worship. A corporate cleansing is a start but it’s time for us to do the dishes old school style from the inside out.

One of the Pharisees criticized Jesus for not washing his hands before he ate dinner. The Pharisees were very religious and ritualistic when it came to being “clean”, but their hearts were still dirty. Jesus said, “ya’ll do a good job of cleaning the outside but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.

It’s time to do the dishes!

Fasting is a way for us to give individualized attention to what is inside of us. These kind only come out through fasting and prayer.

1. Fasting removes the toxins from your body. There is a lot of stuff that we have been eating that is just sitting in our bowels and hiding out in our liver that must come out. The vegetables and water that we will be consuming over the next 21 days will aid in that.

2. Fasting helps you to get out stubborn stains. In this same chapter Jesus talks about the power of prayer and how the “strong man” demonic strongholds cannot be broken until the strong man is bound up. Fasting helps to destroy the bondage that has been holding us hostage on the inside. By cutting off the food supply and pleasure supply to the strong man, your habits, hang-ups, and heartaches, have to eventually surrender to your Spirit man.

3. Fasting causes you to shift what you were wasting to people and places of greater benefit. Jesus tells the Pharisees in verse 41 to give what was inside the dish to the poor and then they will be clean. He doesn’t want them to give away dirt but to give away what they were hoarding. He wanted them to give away material resources, spiritual resources, and the substance of things hoped for.

As we fast for the next 21 days (see the website for more info www.n2newdirection.org) stop spending money on anything that is not a necessity and the money you would have spent put it toward your debt and give it to the poor then you will be clean from the inside out.

Dear God,
Thank you for cleaning me out from the inside out. For the next 21 days I’m cleaning out my temple through the corporate cleansing of regular worship and the individualized cleansing through fasting and prayer. I’m shifting my priorities so that I may be clean, pure and Holy, tried and true, Lord a living sanctuary for you.

In Jesus Name,

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