I have an area rug in my living room. When we moved into our house about 4 years ago, we bought new furniture. I intentionally chose the fabric to resemble the color of dirt. I knew little hands and feet and other things would attack it, so I THOUGHT I was being very smart by getting dirt-colored furniture. Ummm…didn’t work so well for me. Yes, it’s the color of dirt, but not all dirt is that lovely shade of dirt.
You would think I would have learned my lesson when I tried to brighten up the room with a camel-colored area rug. It was VERY REASONABLY PRICED. Translation? If it didn’t work out, I could almost treat it as a disposable. Right?
Well, I have tried to keep up with the spots and spills, but you remember when the gallon jug of water burst in the middle of the rug? The reason behind the wall coming down? (For a refresher, check it out here.) Well, let’s just say that gallon of water did NOT make the rug any cleaner. Oh no, it just became a magnet for any free-falling, floating, unattached dirt and spills of goo and ick.
My daughter said I should throw it away. I was tempted, but I googled hosing down rugs, and guess what? It can be done! So, my sweet husband helped me roll it up and we hauled it out onto the driveway. He even laid out some plastic so that the rug wouldn’t be saddled with asphalt dust on the underside. Smart guy!
I proceeded to wet the entire rug down with the hose, then dumped my detergent on it. I must say, that detergent really worked!!! I had clean, bright, squiggly lines all over the rug where I squirted the detergent. Hmmm, probably should have diluted it with some water first. But I was undeterred. I got my broom and began to agitate the rug…mind you, it was almost 100° outside. Yes, I did it during our unseasonable heat wave.
No matter how hard I tried, those squiggly lines weren’t going away. I had the hose on full stream jet spray. You should have seen the disgusting run off. Ewww. But the rug still looked dirty. So, I brought out the stuff that does it all.
Well, by this time, my daughter was handling the broom, agitating the OxiClean into the rug, then I lightly misted the entire rug. I let the poor, highly agitated rug take a break for a few minutes, then I let that rug have the hose, at the strongest stream I could manage. It helped, but not enough. There was no way that rug was coming back into my living room looking that way.
I must have muttered something about wishing I had a power washer, because I heard Stephanie say that our neighbors had one. I think she thought I was joking. She had already informed me that I truly was a Hoosier now, hosing down my rug on the driveway for the entire neighborhood to witness. I won’t tell you what I muttered back to her, but let’s just say it had to do with all the other “belongings” that regularly clutter my yard, driveway and garage. And they aren’t MINE.
When she went to borrow the power washer, the neighbors asked me what I was doing. I said I was watching my rug dry. And that I was getting ready to move a recliner onto the front porch to complete the Hoosier identity.
But guess what? That power washer did the trick! I watched that rug get clean right in front of my eyes…it was amazing! (I am letting the whole world know right now that I would like one of those power washers for Christmas. Or sooner.)
So I worked at that rug until I only had one corner left to clean. I cannot adequately communicate my excitement in this blog format. You really needed to HEAR me.
So I eventually decided that the rug was clean enough. It was pretty dark by the time I was done, but we still had to hang it up to dry. Ugh, that was an awful job–wet and heavy and bulky. Somehow, we got it up onto the railing, and my husband pulled it into a position for maximum drip drying. He is a master at the maximizing tough stuff so I don’t have to do it.
So I now have a lovely clean rug, and I decided it would go into our master bedroom instead of going back into the living room. The risks to the life expectancy of the rug are considerably less in my bedroom. Especially since I am replacing the door with iron bars. (I heard you…you suggested I pad the walls, too.)
But, as is the norm with me, that rug got me thinking about the spiritual lessons I could learn from this rug. Unlike a previous post about my favorite cleaner, this time OxiClean wasn’t enough to do the whole job. It needed help. Soap couldn’t do it, either. Even the hose was not powerful enough to get out all the spots. It wasn’t until I used the full power of the power washer, the right tool for the job, that the stubborn dirt and grime was finally washed away.
So often, we try all kinds of human solutions for problems. When you consider the sin problem, there are all kinds of man-made solutions: helping people, donating money to charity, church attendance, being a good citizen. There is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves–they are GOOD things. But they can’t and won’t do the job of removing our sin problem. Like the power washer on my rug, the only thing that can remove sin is the blood of Jesus Christ. He freely offered His life to cleanse us from sin. God’s Word says that His cleansing is a free gift that has been given to us. We could not earn it or achieve it through our own efforts. There is no earthly answer to our spiritual problem. The spiritual problem requires God’s answer as the only solution.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
2 1-3 To you, who were spiritually dead all the time that you drifted along on the stream of this world’s ideas of living, and obeyed its unseen ruler (who is still operating in those who do not respond to the truth of God), to you Christ has given life! We all lived like that in the past, and followed the impulses and imaginations of our evil nature, being in fact under the wrath of God by nature, like everyone else.
4-10 But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ—it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved—and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the Heavens. Thus he shows for all time the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness he has expressed towards us in Christ Jesus. It was nothing you could or did achieve—it was God’s gift to you. No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God. The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do.
I love the evidence of a clean rug. It looks amazing and new, like it has been given a new lease on life instead of being headed for the trash. But far more important and precious is the reality of my spiritual cleansing, for it has given me so much more…life that is eternal; a relationship with my own Savior; hope that is based on the completed work of Jesus Christ–not my puny, feeble attempts. And there is a peace that extends far beyond any words I may put together that leads me day by day, even moment by moment. And God’s hand is still outstretched, offering that gift. Have you accepted His gift of life?
Mercy Me, I Would Die for You