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Cleaning Up Our Backyard

Scripture tells us “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and I cannot tell you the number of times that I have had to look in the mirror and reflect on things that I did wrong due to bad decision making including the people in my life or the things that I was involved. Although I am not able to change any of these thing things, I am able to learn from them to make myself and my life better.

Typically, it’s often said that the grass is greener on the other side and if that’s the case, get up and clean up your own yard. Water it and nourish it and take care of it. If you see some weeds or unwanted grass, pull it up and take it out. Matthew 23:26 reads “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” We are being told different things with this scripture and it’s important to study and comprehend scripture correctly if we are to live for Christ.

For instance, we should think about the dish as representing each one of us and the platter being the things that are in our lives including the people that surround us, the places we go and events that we are a part of. In order for the things that we eat (the platter) and what we eat on (the dish) to be clean, we must clean them and in order for our lives to be clean, we must clean up including the people and things in it. Sometimes, to live our best life, we must clean out our backyard and all the baggage and trash in.

One important lesson that I have learned through my walk on Earth is we may make a mess of our lives but the good thing about a mess is we can always clean it up and because we are Christians, children of the living God, we have the best helping hand there is but God does want us to be alert and aware which is discernment. In order to do so, we do not need to be blind to what’s in our lives including the people and the things they do.

Take it from me; I have trusted too many people who did not have my best interests at heart and I am not too prideful to say that I was foolish and dumb and naïve. While my heart was right, their intentions were not as I trusted the wrong people in the wrong situations and because of this, it led me to not trust the right people. There came a moment when I had to literally reexamine everything in my life including who I was but this is necessary if we are going to grow and continue to grow especially with our walk with Christ. Isaiah 1:16-20 tells us:

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before
mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us
reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be
as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye
be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and
rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath
spoken it.”

Sadly, many of us realize that we are stagnant but we do not care because we are comfortable in our situation(s). Too many people become complacent and rather than growing, we remain in the same situation and never grow. Matthew 7:7 tells us “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” Do not just ask God but seek God. Seek God in all that you do but I must warn you that if you ask God, He will answer you. If it seems like He does not then your heart is not right. James 4:3 tells us “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This verse is significant for all of our lives but the part that people tend to leave off is “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” In other words, God does provide all of our needs but the life that we are living needs to line up with God’s and is one that glorifies God. If we are not living for God then what God tells us will not be what we want to hear.

When we become new in Christ and begin to clean out our backyard, we must confront all things even if they are unpleasant. There are things that we want to put in the past and leave them there which is good to do but before we are able to do this, we must make things right which means, no longer running from them. James 4:8 reads “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” When we are cleaning our backyard, we must make things right and it starts with growing close to God. Then we can cleanse our hands and purify our hearts.

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

–Matthew 23:26

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Written by Billy Ray Parrish


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