September 28, 2015

Clean Clothes

Devotion for the Week...

After 10 years of service, our washer died last week.

As the main laundry do-er for a family of 5, I can tell you, this is a big deal. I do more loads of laundry a week than I care to count, and I'm ever so grateful that the washer actually does most of the work for me. I can't imagine living back in the days when the women had to scrub each article of clothing along the washboard to get it clean. To me, throwing the clothes in the washer and turning the knob to make it start is work enough!

I knew the washer was having problems when I emptied a load of towels one day and found the dishcloths still twisted up like they are after I wring them out. That made me think the washer wasn't agitating, so when I put in another load I went down to check. Sure enough, it wasn't moving at all. Not good. See, the motion of the clothes in the washer is what gets them clean, just as the women used to rub the clothes along the washboard. It takes effort to get the clothes clean - either my own effort, or the washer's effort. Having the clothes just sit in the water wasn't going to get them clean.

Thankfully, my friend Dawn has let me use her washer a few times while we've waited for our new one to be delivered (tomorrow!), so I haven't had to track down an old fashioned washboard to keep us in clean clothes.

The Bible refers to our spiritual clothing too, and to the effort it takes to make that clean. In Isaiah 64:6 the prophet wrote, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags." All our righteous acts...all the good we think we're doing...all the effort we put into making ourselves good enough for God...it's just as if we're walking around wearing filthy rags. The truth is, no matter how good we think we are, we'll never be perfect, and only perfect is good enough to be acceptable to God.

It sounds hopeless, doesn't it? No matter how hard we try, we can never make our clothes any cleaner than 'filthy'. Our own effort is not nearly good enough.

Aren't you glad we haven't been left to get those clothes clean through our own effort?

In Revelation, John recounts a vision he saw of heaven, where there was "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands" (Revelation 7:9). Verse 14 says of the multitude, "they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Our own effort will only ever produce filthy rags, but Jesus' death on the cross gave us the means to wash our spiritual clothes and make them white - perfect and acceptable in the sight of God! 

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