Cleaning the inside of the cup
The paint, being only in the center of the window, represents our hearts darkened with the sin-nature we are all born with, inherited from Adam. The light was shining all around the edges. This represents God’s presence. His creation, His invisible attributes, and the blessings in our lives through others. Regardless of how we view our surroundings, they all are an attempt to draw us to Himself. It matters not how successful you are, how good your grades are, or who your parents are. We are born with a body that is alive; however, we have a spirit that is dead, and a wicked heart that needs regenerating. Unfortunately, we can socialize the behavior, but the heart remains unchanged. "The heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Once we realize we cannot “fix” ourselves, we accept the sacrifice of Jesus, who died in our place on a cruel cross. By confessing our guilt and by accepting Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf, we now have a new spirit. Just as I removed the paint from this window, God removes our sin, then and only then can God’s light begin to shine through us.
Just as that window will have no recollection of the paint that was on it, likewise, God chooses not to remember our sin. It isn’t that He forgets, He chooses not to remember. God cleanses us from the inside out and places His Spirit in us. Unfortunately, we still have our old sin nature and the false self we created to deal with along with its fleshly, selfish desires. These spots and dirt on this window represented the sins in our life resulting from self-gratification as well as those things we do that we may not even yet be aware of as sin. As God matures us, His Spirit renews our mind by reading His word; we come to realize much of our thoughts, desires, and our way of thinking is opposed to His. It is this process that wages war within us. We become aware of the sin spots on our robe. Then it becomes our responsibility to consciously choose, through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, to align our actions to our new way of thinking, agreeing with Him that our thinking is wrong (confession) and ask forgiveness. We walk in obedience to the new revelation, always achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit. This will be a life-long process.
When cleaning windows, there are always smears. These smears represent the difficult areas in our life that we have selfishly held onto that leave serious emotional conflicts within our heart and soul. There we must spend extra time “cleaning” them. These emotional scars, like smears on the window, may not always be readily noticeable or even discernible by us. Much of the time, we are not aware of their presence at all, but allow the “light” to filter in, at just the right angle, and they are very noticeable. Let a trigger occur that reminds me of a painful memory and OOPS! There they are! Often noticed first by others, before we admit that we have a problem. Much of the time, we are too busy pointing our bony finger at someone else we interact with that they are in the wrong, not us! Sometimes our true friends or even our spouses are the ones who point them out to us. Sometimes it is God’s Holy Spirit, and sometimes it may be a counselor trained to show us our emotional smears or “hang-ups.” God sends those people in our lives to help us see these scars, which otherwise will go undetected by us, commonly called “blind spots.”
This next window had a black mark on it. As I worked and worked on it, I realized this was a permanent flaw in the glass. It was there to stay. If someone were to come from the inside and look out that window at that very spot, it would obscure their vision. However, if one chose to look around it, their view would not be hindered at all. So, it is with us. A permanent flaw on our physical body regardless of what form it might take will distort and obscure our view of the world, if we choose to look at the world through our flaw, or if we choose to identify ourselves by it. However, if we understand that we are made in God’s image, by a God who makes no mistakes and in whose plan includes a perfect place for us, flaw and all, we can then choose to look past that flaw not allowing it to taint my view of others by how I think they perceive me or how I perceive myself. This permanent physical flaw represents the fact that God will sacrifice outward beauty to develop godly inward character in us or others. This allows our inner light to shine even brighter.
Ah, the last one!
Usually, I’m glad to see the last window after a long day of cleaning windows. Today was different. God engaged me in a lesson directly from Him. I always clean the inside windows first, but not this one. Remember, the window still has paint on the inside, representing our “sin-sick, dead heart.” As I cleaned the outside of this window, God revealed the correlation to our lives when we try to “clean up our act,” behaving differently, socializing our flesh. If we attempt to change our unacceptable activities in the power of our own flesh, with a “sin-sick” heart, we will quickly experience defeat. If by some miracle, we manage to accomplish the task in our own willpower we have a false sense of who we are, and pride is in full gear. We deceive ourselves into thinking we are okay because we have not participated in a particular deed or because we have stopped doing one. God’s word tells us that “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) Thus our act of “cleaning” carries no weight with God when done without His grace. We simply look better on the outside. We still do not have access to God’s unlimited power until we give up, admit defeat, realize we cannot save ourselves, clean the inside of the cup first, and recognize we are powerless to win over our sin. Then, and only then, will we have access to God’s grace through the blood of Jesus. This is precisely what I had to do with this window. Admit defeat, go inside, and clean the inside first. My view was distorted and hindered, so no matter how long or how hard I worked, I was unable to get the outside clean with the inside dirty. So, it is with our lives. Our view is so distorted that we are unable to stay clean, becoming very frustrated, always condemning ourselves for our shortcomings and failures, or we blame others and eventually throw up our hands, claiming that “religion just doesn’t work.” And indeed, religion does not work. The frustration becomes so great we resolve that we were better off before. What we do not realize is that trying to clean up the outside first always leads to futility and frustration.
I love it when God shows up and speaks to me with every day events that reveal spiritual truths. Thank you, Jesus, for this insight.