“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” John 15:3
Many of us spend too much time navel-gazing at our own shortcomings and mistakes, often under the guise of “Confess your sins to one another.” We know 1 John 1:9 too well with the implication that if we confess our sins one to another, He is going to cleanse us. While there is a place for keeping short accounts in our relationship with Jesus, this preoccupation can also become debilitating. If we are always concerned about whether we possibly have done something to offend the Lord, it causes us to live in fear and robs us of our joy in our relationship with the Lord.
I remember working at McDonalds once for two weeks out of my life. They had a motto, “If you keep cleaning the clean, it won’t get dirty.” The idea was that if you had two spare minutes, find a counter to wipe down or clean something even if it already seems clean to you. I understand the idea: if we use our time productively, even if it is a few minutes, it will keep things looking great all the time. We won’t have to do a major cleaning job because we let all the dirt build up.
But what if we are already clean? Would we not be better off doing something useful for the Kingdom than spending all our time cleaning ourselves? What if I spent all day taking a shower, and then another one, and then a bath, and then wash myself down one more time, just in case?
The healthiest thing for us to do may be to recognize that we are already clean. If God has cleansed us through the word that He has spoken to us, we don’t need to be preoccupied with dirt. What is that word? If we are connected to Jesus, His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We are covered by Him.
Some people mistakenly believe that they need to be delivered of something that they don’t need to be delivered of. I am not saying this is true in all cases. However, there are people who start believing lies based upon sins committed in the past, that have now been declared forgiven, that they are still dirty. This in itself can become a problem.
One day I had a lady come to our church where I was ministering at the time. She was convinced that she was cursed and that she needed me to pray over her to break the curse. After multiple visits to the receptionist because she kept missing me, I finally met with her. I prayed over her and lifted whatever she thought needed to be reversed, even though I was not convinced there was anything there that she needed to be delivered from. The lady was eternally grateful and much to my surprise, she came back the next day with a plant for me and the front office receptionist because we had been such a great help to her. I dubbed it “my prayer plant” because all I did was pray. However, in my heart I believe that she was already clean.
By Ralph Veenstra