Take Out the Trash  

At our house, I am someone. Not “someone” as in exalted or esteemed, necessarily. Rather, I am someone as in, “Someone needs to take out the trash,” or “Someone needs to fix that”, or the all too frequent “Someone needs to unstop the toilet.” We are getting a new puppy, and I am pretty sure that soon I will be hearing, “Someone needs to clean THAT up!”

Well, it is good to be someone, if only one someone who takes care of the house and those who live there. It provides a reminder that I am here to serve others, and that many of the ways we can serve others occur because we live in a fallen, imperfect world, and people find it difficult to make their way in life.

Do not misunderstand; the Garden was perfectly beautiful and supplied Adam and Eve with all their needs, but it still was to be tended to by God’s created people. In Genesis 2, we are told that God took the man into the garden “to cultivate and keep” it. Later, God fashioned woman from man’s rib to serve as a helpmeet to the man. No, the garden was not one never-ending vacation at an all-inclusive resort. Man did have work to perform in the garden. But it was, apparently, not heavy work and endless toil to keep the garden. After man’s fall, God cast him out of the garden, and told him that, because of man’s sin, the ground has become cursed, and now he will have to labor all of his days to scratch a living from it among its thorns and thistles.

And, so it has been ever since. Man and woman have to work, toil, and strive to survive in this world that has been damaged, forever altered toward the worse, because of sin and the evil that entered into the world. We toil and we struggle. With all our hard work, and by God’s grace and mercy, we get by. Not as in the garden, mind you, though many of us would even say we are blessed. Yet, there is ever this struggle, this conflict in our lives that did not exist in the garden.

The sad part of this toil and struggle is that we continue to make the bad choice, and listen to Satan to direct our actions. Oh, not all the time, but often enough that our behavior falls short of the standard God has set for us. We are still influenced by Adam’s sin in the garden. This struggle that you and I face today is not new. Paul wrote about it many times in his letters. In his letter to the Philippians (chapter 4), Paul writes, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Paul is telling his brothers in Philippi to stop wallowing in the sins of the past. Look to those things that are good, and practice then, to have any hope of peace – hope of minimizing the struggle – today and as we look to the future.

Do away with the sinful influences in your life. Turn from those television shows, websites, books and magazines that promise you luscious fruit, but are actually full of rotten garbage. Life in this world will always be a struggle, but if we have any hope for peace in our hearts, someone has to take out the trash in our lives.

~ Hudd ~

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