Taking out the Trash
by Robbie Symons

January 14, 2022

Purposeful Discipleship

Taking out the Trash

By Robbie Symons

January 14, 2022

Think about the season pastors have just gone through. What has it brought? It has brought division, distraction, selfishness and laziness, and much more. Now, think about garbage day. I love garbage day. Garbage day is a metaphor we don’t need to miss.

Every week the garbage man comes, and you have to take the trash out. It stinks. It’s dirty. It’s waste. You get to take to the curb. For me, it’s every Monday morning. I must get it to the curb before 7:00 AM. If I forget, it won’t be taken away. Every single time I take the trash out to the curb, there’s satisfaction for me. It seems silly, but it is satisfying. That same day, working from my office at home, I will see the garbage truck come and it takes it away. I laugh and think to myself, “See you later, garbage.”

Why is it so satisfying? For me, it is a small metaphor of the cleansing and the purging of that which is filthy and disgusting and wasteful and no longer needed. It just stinks. Get rid of it. Get rid of the smell. Take it somewhere else. I don’t want it. It is garbage day. Yet another metaphor of the reality that I need the Lord and a heart that is cleansed and a desire to say, “Lord, whatever is in the way, please, please show me. It’s a reminder of my need to confess and repent and be as cleansed to be used as a vessel of honorable use set apart and ready, useful to the Master.

It’s time for us to take the garbage out.

Psalm 19:12-13 says, “Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.”

Repentance is not guilt and shame. Repentance is the call of freedom and joy and the explosion of God’s love upon your life and heart. As we pray, we say, “God show me every single sin that is in my life, getting in the way of the Spirit wants to do. God, I want to see every single sin in my life. God, show me specifically, like Psalm 19 say, the hidden sins that I cannot see. Show me the presumptuous sins that are plaguing my life.”

Some of our churches and some of our lives have become like those of metaphorical hoarders, and the trash has been building up. We aren’t the trash men. We don’t carry it away. Someone else does that. But we do have a responsibility to get it to the curb. Have we forgotten to get it there? Are we surrounded by piles of our own trash?

Here’s the good news: freedom is available. The work of the Holy Spirit is possible. He can renew and cleanse us. When we repent, we bring our sins to the curb and say, “Here it is!” What does God do? He carries it away. It is God, Psalm 19 says, who can declare you innocent from hidden faults. God can keep us back from presumptuous sins. God can call us blameless again and make us innocent of great transgression. This is the beauty of the gospel.

Hear the voice of wisdom and the beckoning of the Spirit: take out the trash.

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