Saturday, May 17, 2014

Do We Need a Spiritual Descaling?

 My TIE value: Be Still in the Presence of the Lord – Psalm 37:7a

When I started as pastor at Hosanna, the congregation quickly learned that I really enjoy coffee.  They know that I am a discerning coffee drinker. Great beans are best enjoyed black and deserve no cream. A robust espresso bean’s flavor can penetrate through streamed milk. And coffee is not fresh after 12 minutes. Maybe I am a bit quirky but all in good fun. I will never refuse a cup of hot joe no matter the bean.

One of our good leaders finished off the décor in my office with a new Tassimo machine. I have really enjoyed having fresh coffee during study hours, lattes during pastoral meetings, and sharing a cup over conversations. I have enjoyed the Tassimo so much that it became a fixture on our worship’s hospitality table.
However recently after worship, a strange red warning light appeared as I was making a cup of coffee. It looked like a three pronged something that I could not figure out the meaning. Was there a problem with the steaming mechanism?   Could there be a blockage in the machine? Was it broken? All I know from my limited mechanic experience that the color “Red” usually served as a warning that something is not right even though the machine continued to make coffee.

I learned that the machine needed have maintenance called “descaling.” This meant that there was a need to remove deposits left by the water. I wondered why I needed to do this since I only used bottled water. But knowing that my machine needed to be descaled, I bought the proper formula and followed the procedures to descale the Tassimo machine. It took an hour to run through the program. Though it was not at a “gross” level, I was amazed the deposits that did come out of the machine.

Even more amazing was my first cup of coffee after the descaling on a Monday morning. My cup of dark roast was smooth and robust. This coffee reminded me of the days that we would draw fresh river water from the Colorado Rockies for our morning coffee and hot coco.

While I was in full coffee meditation another thought came to me. How could a coffee lover like me not realize that I was not drinking coffee tasting this good for such a lengthy period of time?

My TIE Moment

James 1:21 states, “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls.” (New Living Translation - NLT)

For all of us who have come to the cross, Jesus has purified and cleansed us from all of our sins through His death, burial, and resurrection. We hopefully value God’s saving grace that we say “NO!” to sin and “YES!” to living as a His holy people.  Even staying away from the big naughties, and embracing His Word in how we live life does not totally keep small sin deposits from building up in our lives over a period of time.

Sin deposits come into our lives through:

-          Being favorable towards the people we like. While showing discrimination towards those outside our trusted circle.

-          Being departmental by only recognizing God when we are in church, then selecting how much He has access and authority throughout the other places we go in our week.

-          Being accommodating to people through our silence about our living faith and even participating in addictive sinful lifestyles in attempt to be a “cool witness” for Jesus.

-          Being judgmental about people’s shortcomings and sins without giving a moment’s thought that God’s transformation can come upon them in a single moment of time.

But perhaps the sneakiest way that sin deposits build up in our lives is through the neglect of being alone with God for a time of “Spiritual Descaling.”  We live in a world that is sinfully selfish. The attitudes, language, and values of this world do deposit in our lives as we interact with people. We also worship in churches that are comprised with sinful people who in varying degrees struggle in being righteous. At times we all are hypocrites who put on the face of the victorious Christian to cover our defeats caused by sin’s brokenness. 

As slight as these sin deposits can be, they do accumulate over time that causes the purity of God’s work in our hearts not to be as fresh for giving life as it could be. Therefore, James exhorts that we all need to “Get rid of all filth and sin” no matter how slight it might be. Jesus even responded to Peter’s eagerness to receive complete bathing over just having his feet washed by saying, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet.” (Jn. 13:10a  NLT)

When do we take time to spiritual descale?

For some descaling might occur around the seasons of Advent, Lent, or the start of a New Year. For others it might be when our lifestyle choices have gone out of bounds as a follower of Jesus. Unfortunately, I have had too many conversations with Christians who never take time to be still in God’s presence long enough to get rid of their sin deposits that have built up over the years.

Why should we go through spiritual descaling if we have not committed major sins? The one Scripture that comes to my mind is from Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” (NIV)

If a cup of coffee taste fresher after a descaling, then how much fresher will God’s vision for our lives taste through spiritually descaled Christians? 

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