The two-story building on the corner of our street has been empty for three years now. Except for at Halloween. Each fall, like magic, all sorts of terrifying and provocative costumes fill the once vacant storefront windows. Fake cobwebs replace real, and people flock there to find the just perfect outfit for their trick or treating.
These parasitic businesses feed off the carcass of failed investments. This year we have two stores, directly across the street from each other. As if one wasn’t bad enough, my children can now see animatronic witches and glowing skulls everywhere they look as we pass each day on our way to and from Eli’s school.
Yesterday as I was driving by, I realized what a perfect analogy these stores provide of what can occur in our lives. When we repent of our sins and look to Jesus’ sacrifice to cleanse us inside and out, we are at that moment set free from those sins. At that point the Holy Spirit enters our heart to produce fruit as we walk with Him: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
These fruits grow in us as we spend time with God, in prayer, worship, silence and service. Our relational times with Him fill us and cause us to become more like Him. Like they say, we are like the company we keep.
However, if we shut off areas from Him, barring the door against God’s healing water of life, there comes a void. If that void is not filled by Him, it will be filled by something else. Jealousy, anger, bitterness, addiction, and more hide out in those dark corners. Ashamed to have something so ugly in our hearts, we hide it away, hoping others won’t notice because of the works we’re doing.
It may be only for a season, or it might take up permanent residence there, either way we’re left with a parasite. It eats away at us, filling a structure that is solid and sound with cheap and temporary thrills. All because we let a space stand empty.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11, emphasis mine
Have you locked off areas of your life from God? Is there something you’ve kept hidden because of shame of what others would think?
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