A classroom full of twelve little four-year-olds. Busy boys and girls. Lots of noise. Never a dull moment. Sometimes, I must confess, the ‘lesson’ could get lost in all the excitement.
For several years, my husband and I joined efforts to teach this four-year-old class at our church. I hate to confess, but initially we agreed to serve in this capacity out of guilt and to make up for the weeks of summer where our family attended another church most Sundays. Little did we know, that by teaching these babies, our lives would be the ones blessed. And, yes, that they would be teaching us instead.
Each week was much the same. We sang. A little off-key, but all for His glory. We prayed. Heads bowed but eyes sometimes cracked a bit to check out our friend next to us. And, yes, we played. Puzzles, Legos, trucks and cars. Playtime can definitely be a hard thing to stop when lesson time rolls around. Grateful that this particular week worked out a little differently.
As the kids gathered around the small table, their eyes were really focused on a large pitcher of water in my hand. As they kept watching, we talked about things that we all could really stand to understand better. Wanting things others have. Not being grateful for all that we have. And, how each of these things could impact our hearts.
Thanks to our children’s minister, the pitcher offered the perfect illustration.
You see, the water in the pitcher represented our hearts without sin. Clear. Clean. Pure.
As we talked about struggling with sins of envy and being ungrateful, I dropped drops of bright red food coloring into our once clear water. The water became dark and murky. The red food coloring represented our sinful feelings. We talked about how important it is to keep your heart pure and clean.
Then, I added drops of Clorox and talked about how Jesus dying on the cross takes away our sin. And, as we add good things to our hearts, the sin slowly fades. Good things like reading His word. Praying for His will. Praising His name. As we talked, the water remained red. Of course, I was so disappointed that this process did not work immediately. Sitting the pitcher aside, I hoped they got the message, be it a bit unclear (no pun intended).
As the kids colored their coloring sheets, I attempted to straighten things up a bit. And, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the pitcher. The water was clear. I excitedly shared this with the kids.
Yes, it took time, but it really did clear up the murky water. Made me think about how long sin can mar our lives. How it can instantly stain our hearts, but can’t be instantly wiped clean by our efforts. Only His.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ~ I John 1:9
Through Christ, when we are repentant our sins are wiped clean, but sometimes we allow the enemy to cause it to linger in our hearts. Regret. Shame. Defeat. Please don’t allow the enemy’s schemes to overshadow your freedom from sin through Christ.
Yes, I have done just this in the past, and the weight of the enemy’s lies caused me to feel so worn down. Of course, we all need to search our hearts to make sure that we are obedient to Him, but we don’t need to relive our mistakes of the past over and over again. We need to leave them at the Cross.
The four-year-olds got it. They shared with their parents how the clean heart turned dirty with bad things. They shared how clean the heart became as we added good things. Yes, it is pretty simple, but we adults can make it way too complicated.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” ~ Psalms 51:10
Allow Him to create in us a pure heart. Don’t focus on the wrongs, but focus on the only One who can make them all right. Keep adding good things to our hearts – His truth, His promises, His love.
Maybe you like me need a visual. If so, grab a pitcher with water and see what happens with a little red food coloring and bleach. Trust me. It was worth it to really see what an impact He can have on a sinner’s heart like mine.