I was brushing my teeth this morning when I noticed a lot of old toothpaste splatter on the mirror. “Man, that really needs to get cleaned up. I need to mention this to the kids or Kathi,” I told myself in a glub sort-of-way.
As I made my way downstairs to the recliner, I suddenly had an amazing thought: I could clean the mirror. Better yet, I could clean the WHOLE bathroom. As proud as I am of that moment, the really sad thing is I had to ask someone where the cleaning supplies were. Shouldn’t I know that?
With bleach in one hand and a scrub brush in the other, I began to knock away at the grime and scum. At war within me, though, was my old sinful heart: don’t worry about that nasty junk in the corner, Kathi can get that. Oh, see that disgusting stuff under the toilet ring, don’t even touch that – nobody knows it is there anyway. Just a good once over is plenty, but for goodness sakes, be sure to really clean your side of the mirror. Don’t forget, the Seminoles are playing in a few minutes, you don’t want to miss that.
Yeah, that was a really great moment. However, recognizing what was really happening within my heart, the Holy Spirit broke through and I began to listen: as hard as it will be, how about trying to do a better job than Kathi would – not to one-up her, but to show her you really love her. See that grime underneath the faucet handle – get that. You know that rust stain in the corner of the shower you look at every morning, spend an extra 10 minutes and get rid of it. You know that toilet you sit on everyday, wipe that sucker down.
Yeah, there was a real battle going on, but the Holy Spirit won and I began to clean like mad man. Rather than doing something half-baked, my desire switched to doing something based in love and a desire to serve. I desired to give excellence and that was nothing but God at work.
Cultivating a servant’s heart begins with looking in the mirror and recognizing the dirtiness for what it really is: sin. Thankfully, it is pure grace that we have the Holy Spirit to it point it out to us and begin the cleaning process. We just need to listen.