We had the privilege of attending the end of the basketball season for the North Clackamas Christian School Saints. Our son Grant coaches the varsity boys’ team, and our grandson Luke, a senior, has been his point guard for four years. We made it to Oregon City just in time to be at “Senior Night.” Up until that game, Luke had scored 979 points, so they had a big chart on the wall and updated the total each time he scored. When he scored his 22nd point for the night, giving him 1001, Grant took him out of the game to a standing ovation. Pretty exciting! He ended up with a total of 1070 by the end of the ensuing tournament games, placing him 5th in scoring for his career at NCCS. He also now holds the record for steals and assists and is third for both FT % and three-pointers made.
Also, while staying at Grant and Arika’s place, we noticed water sitting on the ground in a pathway in the backyard although it hadn’t rained for awhile. I traced the direction of their underground waterline from the street to the house and the surface water appeared to be directly over the location of the line, so removed the steps and gravel from the walkway and began digging in the soggy, gumbo-like clay, hoping and praying that the apparent leak was not under their concrete patio which covers about 12 feet of the incoming waterline. I was excited to find the leak about a foot from the patio slab! PTL we didn’t have to destroy the patio to find it. When the place had been built the contractor had dumped some chunks of concrete to add to the fill and one very large piece was up against the 1″ copper tube waterline, had flattened several inches of the pipe and a small hole had eventually developed, out of which water was spurting. I will spare you the challenge we had to repair it, but Grant took the next day off school and we got it done. What a job!
The water had obviously been leaking for awhile to saturate the two-foot depth of clay and reach the surface. What a picture of how things going on in our inner being sometimes surface at a later date, but they will always eventually show up if they are allowed to continue. When we allow sin to go unconfessed, we may cover it up for a time, but eventually it will “surface.” It might be unwillingness to forgive someone for hurting us. We hold a grudge which festers until a “root of bitterness comes springing up and causes trouble” (Heb. 12:15). Holding our feelings in check when we are boiling inside is like holding a bunch of ping-pong balls underwater. Soon they come popping up. Someone comes along and irritates us and we “spill over” on them. When we get bumped into, what we are full of spills over onto them. We work really hard to cover up inner turmoil and feelings of anger, but eventually it all comes to the surface and pours over onto anyone who may be “in the way.”
It may not be unresolved anger that we are hiding; it may be a wrong thought pattern of lust or envy or anything displeasing to God. If we don’t “take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:5), they will one day surface in the form of sinful action or words. Solomon, in his wisdom, wrote, “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is” (Pr. 23:7). The inner man (the “heart”) may be hidden from others for a time, but one day it all comes to the surface. Jesus, in addressing the hypocritical Pharisees, rebuked them, saying: “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Mt. 12:34 cf Lk. 6:45).
As Christians, we are not exempt from thoughts and feelings which can lead to sin (Jas. 1:13-15) for we still have the old sinful flesh which wars against the Spirit within us (Gal. 5:17). But, if we “walk by the Spirit,” we “will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (v. 16). We do that by first confessing any sin that God the Holy Spirit convicts us of (I Jn. 1:9) and then asking Him to be in control (Eph. 5:18). The key to doing this is being consistently in the Word, memorizing key Scriptures that deal with our weaknesses, and then being sensitive and obedient as the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to guide, guard and graze us. We need to “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within” (Col. 3:16). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word…Your word I have treasured in my heart (inner being), that I may not sin against You” (Psa. 119:9,11). As the Word of God starts getting into our mind, our mind is being “renewed” (Ro. 12:2). If we are going to respond to situations and to people with a “What-Would-Jesus-Do” response, it has to begin with our heart/mind being renewed by being washed with the water of the Word (Eph. 5:26).
If we allow a “leak” to go on in our inner person, once it comes to the surface, it creates a “mess” to clean up. How much better to pray David’s prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psa. 139:23,24).