Take Out the Trash!

by Hal Steenson

The loud hiss from the air brakes followed the distinct rattle of the diesel engine. A 5:00 a.m. glance at the alarm clock caused me to sit upright in bed—it was Monday morning, and that was the garbage truck!

I pulled on my trousers and sneakers as I made a mad dash for the kitchen. I had maybe three minutes to gather up the trash, make a fifty-yard dash for the outside garbage container, and get the whole mess out to the street.

I was sure the driver of the truck sped up as I pulled and half-dragged the big plastic container to the curb. I believe he even smiled as he saw me rushing to rid myself of a week’s worth of stinky, worthless refuse. He probably thought, I’ll beat you next time, mister, and you’ll have to smell your rubbish for another week!

It was my fault. Trash day had followed Sunday for years, so I couldn’t blame anyone else. After all, it’s a man’s job to bring in the money—and take out the trash!

The Exit

I was reminded of when Mollie and I missed our interstate exit and had to drive 30 miles out of the way before we found a legal place to turn around. That was my fault, too. There had been plenty of signs alerting me of my upcoming exit. Turn here—this is the exit you need to take! But no, I didn’t take it—just like I didn’t take out the trash.

There have been times in my Christian walk when I failed to take out the spiritual trash in my life, and plenty of times when I missed the chance to take an exit off the Highway of Sin, only to find no way of escape for what seemed like an eternity. It was always so easy to say, “Oh well, there will be another Monday,” or, “There will be another exit just down the road.” I failed to see the enemy driving my spiritually sin-filled trash life, laughing at me, and hoping my sin overload would destroy me.

The Proper Time

The proper time for taking the sin-trash out of our lives is when the Holy Spirit convicts us of that sin. That is when we acknowledge our sin stinks, and that we can’t live another day with it, let alone another week. Jesus confirmed this when speaking of the Holy Spirit, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:8.

Our Heavenly Father maintains the Highway of Destruction off-ramp. He patiently waits for us to stop searching for peace on some tormenting section of sin-road—driving by an exit of opportunity while thinking there will be another one when there may not be another exit for us. We can’t just turn around on our own. The only exit is the one God provides.

Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44. But when we sincerely acknowledge and confess our sins, what a paradox: As we open our trash receptacle life to Jesus, He empties us out and washes us clean! “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

Don’t wait till the last minute to take out the trash. Get rid of it daily, one sin-bag at a time. Don’t let it stink and then try to beat the garbage truck.

Look for the exit ramps off sin’s highway; when you take the exit God provides, there’s always a rest area waiting for you!

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

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