Are they clean, free from moral dirt and grime? Do they bring a smile or a frown? Wherever we go, with whomever we walk, we should be aware of what impressions we leave.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES By Sally Bair
My puppy, Lyddie, loved to play in the mud. In the spring and after every rain she went looking for things to dig up, and the soft, muddy path behind my house made for easy diggings. Once she came back home, I'd wipe her feet with an old towel, trying to remove the mud between her toes and claws. I'd spit and sputter and scrub and rub, but no amount of effort short of a bath in an outside tub brought total cleanliness. And the deck showed her dirty paw marks in spite of numerous sessions of hosing her down.
During one mild winter, I saw muddy paw prints all along the roadside on each new layer of white snow. They made me wonder what kind of footprints I leave. Every time I speak an unkind word, I leave a muddy track for the world to see. Every time I walk past someone in obvious need because I’m too preoccupied with my own plans or desires, I mar the landscape. Every time I go against the teachings of Christ, I deepen my dirty tracks.
Paul speaks for all of us in Romans 7:15, 17, 24: "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. … but now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. … O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Like Paul, we who are in Christ—that is, who have accepted Him by faith and been brought to wholeness and purity through His death and resurrection—keep messing up because of our sinful nature. We unintentionally gravitate toward the muddy paths and leave our tracks behind. Try as we may, we can't keep ourselves clean. Only through God’s Son, Jesus, can we be made righteous.
Our battle to remain clean, pure in God's sight, is a daily battle. We must never give up. If we do, our muddy tracks will get so deep that those outside the Church will think we're one of them. God has set us apart from the world so we can follow His perfect will—to love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves.
Lord, we want to be pleasing to You. We don't want to leave muddy tracks. Cleanse us and give us the strength and power to live according to Your Word. In Jesus' name, amen.