Maintaining Spiritual Cleanliness as a Discipler

discipler's identity Nov 25, 2021

 Have you ever been asked a question that has made perfect sense while making no sense at all?

Earlier this week one of the kids at my workplace asked me: “Eleisha, why do we wash our towel if we’re supposed to be clean when we use them? How does a towel get dirty? And if we’re clean, then, why can’t we just use the same towel forever?”

After having a quick giggle, I began to think about it more. I thought no matter how hard we scrubbed, we would never be able to become 100% clean.

Why would this be the case?

Well, because we live in a world with bacteria, germs and other types of pathogens that keep us from being fully clean. 

Can you catch the similarities between our physical and spiritual cleanliness?

You see, in the same way that this world limits us from experiencing complete physical cleanliness, it is impossible for us to become fully clean, living lives free from sin on this side of eternity.

So, rather than it being an issue with our efforts or competency, it is our nature and surrounding environments on earth that prevents us from attaining our goal of complete spiritual cleanliness. No matter how much we can try to make sure that we are clean, there will always more that will inevitably come up and need to be washed off.

What does this mean for us?

If we can never be fully clean, at least until glorification occurs, then what do we do in the meantime? Do we just throw in the towel (no pun intended), put our hands in the air and allow ourselves to live as we please?

I know what you’re thinking, ‘of course not!’ Can you imagine if we did this in relation to physical cleanliness? We would all be walking around with nose pegs on! Everyone would be walking around covered in shame, knowing that they are unclean but can’t do anything about it.

Before we go any further, let’s define spiritual uncleanliness.

Spiritual uncleanliness means to be morally or spiritually impure.

What makes a person impure? Well, we know that sin is the opposite of godliness. It is an act of disobedience to God that both contradicts His instructions for how we should live on earth and impurifies us.

We also know that while the wage of sin is death, God has given us the gift of His glory (Romans 6:23) in order that we can live lives of holiness, despite our sinful nature.

This means that because of God’s grace and mercy we don’t have to live of the ramifications of falling into sin. Of course, this does not open the door for us to be flippant about our state of spiritual cleanliness, but rather, it means that because of the gift of salvation that God has so lavishly bestowed upon us, we don’t have to live up to an unrealistic standard of complete spiritual cleanliness but can live with the hope of Jesus that allows us to get back up after we stumble and fall.

So, what can we do about this?

Well, 1 John 1:9 says that that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The first part of this verse talks about confessing our sins. This involves bringing what was once in the dark into the light so that Jesus can cleanse us and that we can walk in integrity in our lives with Him.

How can we do this? By firstly confessing and then repenting of our sin to God.

The next part involves confessing and sharing with others in order for healing to take place. We can see this in James 5:16 where we read of James instructing his audience to confess their sin to one another, then pray for one another so that they may be healed.

As disciplers, we are held accountable to living lives of integrity.

Part of this involves having those around us who we can share vulnerably with and who can keep us accountable to living lives of holiness.

Who do you have around you that you can share with?

How you are keeping your disciples accountable to maintaining integrity in their inner life?

Remember, it is only when we are sharing vulnerably with others that we are able to have the moral authority to teach our disciples and help keep them accountable.

Be blessed in Jesus,

By Eleisha Lewis

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