The Trash Days of My Soul
May 17, 2017 | by: Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: Theology
Every Wednesday like clock-work the same hydraulic song plays in front of my house. It’s a deliberate sound from that thing that has “wheels and flies” but isn’t an aircraft. It stops and its claws squeeze its prey, effortlessly lifts it and devours it as if in one motion. Then it continues down the street in its serial gluttony of mishmash, all served up curbside in poly-something-or-other vessels methodically placed in the front of each house.
This lyrical racket reminds me that I’ll be hearing it again next week as well, on the same day. Hey, I dutifully do the weekly discard like everyone else. I don’t want a stinky garage either!
And, by extension, I certainly don’t want nasty stuff stinking up my life. Jesus did come to sweep the rubbish away in my life by His atonement. Yet, some of it (okay, a lot of it) begins to pile up again. That’s how garbage behaves. It will keep piling up until it’s thrown out. The tolerance for its stank differs from one person to the next. I suppose my nose has become more sensitive to unpleasant odors than it was in the past. It’s the reason why the sounds of clanging metal and the hissing of hydraulic lifts mimics God’s sweet voice to my soul.
They are the comforting lyrical voice of the Spirit singing to my spirit a song about Jesus called Together that goes something like this:
I have removed, ultimately, the odor of garbage that would keep you from me--forever;
To experience me daily, my presence, dispose things that creep into your life;
Things that blemish our relationship of being together.
Place them at the curb.
Poking their way back into your life?
Hold your nose;
I’m here for you;
Together we toss them in the can. Together.
Together we’ll place them at the curb where they belong.
You are in Me and I am in you, we are together.
Do you ever play things over and over again in your head like a bad song? Guilt! Guilt that’s prompted by memories….of things you should have said to someone in the past when you had the chance; or shouldn’t have said at all that you can’t take back. Gestures not taken when you had the chance. The hurts you caused. Not being there for your children, for your spouse, for your parents, for your siblings, for God... Guilt as a result of past misdeeds, rank wrongdoings, being a lousy person—ergo: sins. And there’s no filtering going on there in the mind, they all just coagulate into one big ball of shame that hammers away at your soul. Guilt is merciless.
However, the Gospel assures me that all the guilt and shame of the sin(s), has been taken care of by being nailed through two palms on a cross. The guilt for which I should be accountable has been assumed by Another out of love, grace, mercy. The merciless power of guilt and shame has been broken. It’s been tossed in the can.
Yet, why do I often sense that insidious power of guilt over me? It’s because of my tendency to lift the lid off the can and stare at all that trash inside; the removal of which Jesus came to accomplish. Staring at garbage. Now there’s an elevating pastime! That’s when I ask God to sing Together to me. It’s then that I’m reassured that guilt can have no sway over me. And I’m stirred to remove its odor from my relationship by being reminded, as we all are to be, that “…Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
The walk of faith in Jesus Christ is surely an ongoing process. Like the rubbish that invariably piles up is weekly placed at my curb, I continually need to toss out the stinky stuff that distracts me from my communion with God. Those are the trash days of my soul. And, in His love, grace, and mercy, we do it together.
God has given us a model of this in the Apostle Paul:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. -Philippians 3:12-16, NIV84
Dave Maniquis is a Gospel Partner at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.