You might not want to read this blog while you are eating (seriously). I mentioned in my last post that I, like most human beings, need to hear a spiritual concept quite a few times before it really becomes applicable in my own life. Like most of our walk with God, there are layers to each concept and deeper levels of learning as we delve deeper into His word and walk more closely with Him. As I was out running yesterday morning, one such concept got driven home a little bit deeper.
Many of the neighborhoods I run through have septic tanks which means they are not hooked up with the main sewage pipes provided by local governments. Each owner must maintain his/her own tank. Periodic preventive maintenance is required to remove solids that remain and gradually fill the tank, reducing its efficiency. Maintenance requires regular pumping to remove these. It is the home owners’ responsibility to maintain their septic systems. Those who disregard this requirement will eventually be faced with costly repairs. A properly maintained system will likely not need replacement during the homeowner’s lifetime.
I have noticed lately that some of the neighborhood tanks are overflowing and slowly oozing down into the sidewalks and street (gross huh?)!!! Clearly these people have no idea how to take care of their system. When it comes to our spiritual tank, we often disregard the required maintenance for us to function properly as well. How? Let’s compare the natural with the spiritual: When a septic tank gets full too quickly, it is due to lack of proper training of the people who live in the house. They use too much toilet paper, run water unnecessarily and excessively, put things down the toilet that have no business being in there, etc. There is so much excess going into the tank that the systems fails. As believers, we must apply this rule to our spiritual lives as well. Too much of anything is simply too much! The goal is to maintain balance in all things. This brings freedom as we are not over-focused or obsessing in any one area of our lives. The only thing we should be obsessed about is God. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.
What about the things that go into our spirit that have no business being there? The list of worldly things that go into our tank and cause us to get over-filled with waste is huge. We all have our own individual areas that we need to allow God to pump out of our spiritual tank. The funny thing about septic tanks is that the grass that grows over them is the most lush and beautiful on the whole lawn. This is usually an indication that the tank needs to be pumped out because it is over-fertilizing the grass on top. It reminds me of many times when you see someone who is totally put together on the outside physically, yet inside is a cesspool just waiting to spill over. As soon as they begin to speak, it’s obvious that what is on the inside needs to be evacuated.
I know for me personally, if I have not had my time with God, there are most likely a few things within me that may ooze out and cause me to sound or act less than holy. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
This is such a simple spiritual concept, yet so hard to manage. We are required to maintain our spiritual tank. When the Holy Spirit came in upon salvation, He immediately began to work on cleaning up the mess we made due to our own lack of maintenance. We need to give Him our time and the latitude to pump out the waste that needs to be evacuated. Then what will overflow out of us will be heavenly.
Philippians 1:9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.