It happened every fall.
I worked as a pool cleaner while in seminary and as soon as the weather got too cool to swim, to save a couple of dollars, a few customers would request to have their pools covered and winterized and their service discontinued until the spring.
We would show up to do the job and my boss would carefully instruct the homeowner about a few critical things to do over the winter. Check the chemicals weekly. Maintain the water level. And above all, keep the water chlorinated.
It happened every spring.
The customer would call us to take the cover off the pool and make the pool operational for the party they were having in a two days. And as soon as we removed the cover, the green, bug-infested swamp underneath it revealed that the owner had not taken care of his simple duties. Perhaps, we would explain, the pool might be swimmable in seven to ten days, but no sooner. The tragedy was, ten minutes a week would have eliminated the problem. But some were simply too lazy or occupied with other activities to take care of a responsibility that at the time did not seem particularly important or urgent.
There is a corollary in the spiritual realm (you know what it is, don’t you?). It is easier to have sin eradicated from our lives in its microscopic beginning stages. When we allow sin to blossom into all its fullness, it is not as easily removed. Oh, it is fully forgiven by God. But the attraction and temptation to repeat the sin is so much stronger and we struggle so much more with the desire to return to it.
Here, then, are ten questions to help you daily keep your heart clean (you might take some time to look up these references; many of them not only pinpoint the sin, but also provide spiritual guidance and relief for that sin):
- Am I being honest with God about my sin (Ps. 139:23-24)?
- About what do you grumble (Phil. 2:14)?
- Is my use of liberty and freedom an encumbrance to the spiritual growth of others (1 Cor. 8:13)?
- Am I “too busy” to regularly spend time with God in His Word (Ps. 119:147-148)?
- Have I wrongly offended someone (Mt. 5:22-24)?
- About what am I selfish (1 Cor. 10:24; 13:5)?
- Is there any area in which I am quenching the Spirit’s work in my life (Eph. 4:30)?
- Does my conversation always honor God (Ps. 37:30)?
- Do the things I read and watch honor God (Ps. 101:2-3; Phil. 4:8)?
- Do I willingly, aggressively work to forgive others (Mt. 18:21-22; Eph. 4:32)?
- In what area am I most undisciplined (Jn. 15:2; 1 Cor. 9:27)?
These few questions may not address every sin in your life, but a daily, honest appraisal of them will go far in keeping deadly microbes from infiltrating your spiritual life.