Last week I got a message from a friend with a great offer. (Let’s use a very common name so as to protect his identity. We will call him… Joe.) “Joe” had a portable room air conditioner that he was given, and he decided to pass that gift on to someone else – me! I told him that would be great and I knew I would be in the area soon to pick it up.
When I laid eyes on it, I was very impressed. This was a very nice unit with three modes and a lot of other nice little features. Needless to say, I was very excited at the thought of having a cool, comfortable living room, and I was very thankful and appreciative! As I loaded it into the trunk, I caught a slight whiff of mustiness, but was sure that once I got it home and washed the coils out, it would be great! By the time we got home, it was late, so I left it on the porch and went to bed.
When I got home from work the next day I was very eager to get started on the cleaning. When I stepped onto the porch to move it outside, I was hit with a different aroma. I remembered this smell. I had this smell in my old pick-up one time. This was the smell of rodent.
I took it out to the garage to check the damage, and after a fair amount of dis-assembly, I found the culprits. Yes, culprits – plural. More than mouse. We were talking mice. As in 3 Blind. They had crawled in through the cold air exhaust, and thanks to the fine engineering form the people of Amana and their smooth flowing air channel, the mice were unable to climb back out. They did all they could to extricate themselves as they chewed through the fan blades and anything else they could, but they met their end. Their lives may have been cut short, but their stench had lingered on– with great power and intensity!
It took a good deal of scrubbing, and more than a little bleach, but it finally reached a point of neutrality that is tolerable. I get a good whiff of it at start-up, but after about a minute, it dissipates, and all I get is cold air. Success! I did find a couple other things that need to be addressed before it can go into service, but all in all, this machine is a gem! I’m still very thankful for the gift and the comfort it is going to bring.
As I cleaned, I had some time to think. I was reminded of the story of the Pharisees and Christ’s words to them in Luke:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 ESV)
The Pharisees were so full of pride and wickedness, but as the religious leaders, the people thought if they just followed their directions, everything would be fine. The problem was that the people were often being led down a path that did not bring glory to God, just praise and notoriety to the Pharisee. Following these men and their message was like stumbling into a tomb. Not a place you want to go!
Just like this air conditioner looked clean and wonderful on the outside, something was hidden on the inside. Something that needed a good scrubbing to remove the foul contents. Sometimes my heart needs that too. It can be old bitterness, anger, or apathy toward another person. It can be old habitual sins that slowly grow until they are causing major problems with spiritual growth. The list of things that can go wrong in my heart is long, and I hate that! How do I keep those things from getting in there and causing such a stink?
1. God’s Word – Spending daily time in the Word is better for my heart than mouse repellent is for an air conditioner! That time spent reading and chewing on God’s Word is both the tool I need to get into the hidden areas to dig out the nastiness, and it is also the cleansing agent that makes me fit to be around!
2. Friends – Sometimes, I don’t know my attitude is getting a little foul, but when I have good friends who speak into my life the Truth that I need to hear, they help me by pointing out a smell that I might not have picked up on my own. After all, it is my attitude. If there is a problem, it couldn’t be me – right?
I have a group of guys that I am in contact with every week, and I trust them with this area of my life. I have had a couple of them point things out, and we have gone digging. I need that. We all do. That is a part of a Relentless life. Not being willing to settle for allowing stuff to rest in me that will bring an offensive aroma to God or those around me.
So, how about you? Do you have something down inside you that emits a less than desirable aroma to your attitude? Do you have someone you can ask? Are you spending time in the Word to help you find and deal with it? If the answer is yes, then I am very happy for you! Keep it up! If the answer is no, then my challenge to you is to make a plan and then take a step. You don’t need to become a theologian overnight. That probably won’t help you anyway. The biggest thing is to take action. Even a single step is progress. Go for it! If I can encourage or help in any way, please let me know.
Thanks again to my friend for the machine! It is more than a tool to bring comfort to my home. God has also used it to bring a lesson to my life. I appreciate it!
Relentless Growth -> Grow Deep -> Grow Strong