Dear Fellow 1.5-ers,
In our home, we have two adults plus three children plus one dog and that equals eternal laundry. It never ends. My wife works at it. Washes it. Dries it. Folds it. Puts it away. Repeat. Often we keep an Everest-like mound of laundry on our love seat because we surrender. We surrender to the laundry army. We lay down our guns and beg for mercy, but the war never seems to end. We do laundry morning, noon, and night while praying for Jesus to return so we don’t have to put it all away.
One morning I was up early to do some reading for a seminary class, and I moved clothes, including a pair of my daughter’s overalls, from the washer into the dryer. I started the dryer, closed the laundry room door, grabbed a cup of coffee, walked a few feet into the living room, and in the morning silence, I began to read as the dryer served as my metronome. The rhythm of the dryer was gently singing to me as I read and sipped coffee until the overalls made their presence known.
At the end of the straps on a pair of overalls are golden galluses. Usually these are made of hearty material such as various metals like nickel or brass. This material is great for warming up to 1 million degrees while the overalls are in the dryer, and they are also great for making a ridiculous amount of noise as those overalls tumble dry. This is precisely what happened that peaceful morning as I was trying to complete my seminary assignment.
After several minutes of drying, the overalls made their way through the gauntlet of other clothes to the outer limits of the dryer, and it was there that they began to ruin my relaxing reading session. In apparent anger, those metal galluses began to demand their release from the heat. They banged and banged and banged until my eye was twitching and I was searching for a sedative. Of all those clothes in that dryer, it was the overalls that had made their way through the crowd to protest. After five or ten minutes of waiting for them to be overtaken and hushed by the crowd of clothes, I snapped. My metronome had become a device of torture. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t listen any more. The one article of clothes, the overalls, had ruined the morning. They had stolen my peace. They had hindered my progress. They had to be dealt with, and so I marched to the laundry room, threw open the dryer door, sought out the enemy, and snatched him up forgetting that not only are galluses good at making noise, but they are also great at holding heat. With a whimper and what could only be described as a Native American rain dance, I released the overalls into the laundry room floor, and I spent the next few seconds inventing a new type of hand-cooling karate as I fought the air in search of relief for my fire-inflicted fingers.
The noise had been dealt with, but it came at a cost.
Seems this is our story with our battle with sin. God packs a lot of characteristics into us: kindness, thoughtfulness, self-control, empathy, and love, and then we mix with those our own articles: bitterness and selfishness and pride and lust. All of these tumble together while we go about the rhythm of our lives, and it seems that those ugliest of characteristics begin to work their way through the crowd and make noise and steal our peace and hinder our progress. Sometimes, we feel as if the only thing tumbling inside of us are our sins. It’s overwhelming. The assaults seem to be unending. Our sins bang and bang and bang demanding to be released. They make so much noise that often we can’t hear anything but sin. They become so noisy that we forget there are other beautiful articles inside battling against the noise. We want peace. We want progress. We want relief, and we can have relief.
The noise can be dealt with.
But, it comes at a cost.
Dealing with the noise of sin is painful.
Paul commands us: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…” (Colossians 3:5).
Paul commands us: “...make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).
Paul reminds us: “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Paul writes: “…in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…” (Colossians 1:24).
We can’t quiet the noise alone; it’s too hard – actually, it’s impossible.
In Jesus, God himself wrapped Himself in flesh and thrust himself into the heat to snatch the noise out of us. He was executed so that we might live. He starved that we might have abundance. He was punished that we might go free. He suffered so that we might rejoice.
If you are trusting in Jesus, those noises that you hear do not define you. As a son or daughter of God, Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection defines you. His death quiets the noise. His strength beats back the sounds of sin. In our battle with sin, we must be willing to reach in and burn our hands. We must be resolved to fight to silence the noise. But understand that even in the midst of the incessant banging of sin, we should be listening for the voice of Jesus…
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
May the noise of your tumbling soul be drowned out by the jubilant singing of Jesus.