Removing the stink of mankind

Published 11:03 am Friday, October 6, 2017

By Hunter Greene
As an athlete, I have been in quite a few locker rooms in my lifetime. One thing I will never forget is the smell. I have learned that there is a difference between “stink” and “stank.” You see, “stink” is what you smell in a bathroom. It is a foul smell that is temporary and will eventually go away. On the other hand, “stank” is a smell that is much more permanent and can rattle you in just a few moments. There is nothing worse than opening the door to a locker room to get ready for practice or a game and being greeted by the “stank.” The smell will knock you down. The combination of sweaty shoes, sour socks, and body odor in an unventilated room makes for a killer aroma that isn’t for the weak at heart. The thing that always cracked me up was how some of the guys tried to escape the burden of a quick shower. Occasionally, somebody would spray some cologne to cover their stink so they wouldn’t have to shower. I never understood why they would try to cover up their stink rather than washing it off for good. They may be giving the perception of cleanliness, but the reality is that they still have the “stank.”
In 2 Chronicles 29, we find that twenty-five-year-old Hezekiah has become king, and he gets to work on removing the “stank.” Because he does “that which is right in the sight of the Lord,” he gets to work on restoring true worship in the temple. Verses 3-6 read, “He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs.”
For Hezekiah, the idols needed to be removed, and the people needed to turn back to God. For our church today, the idols need to be removed, and we need to stop turning our back on God. But before we can fix the problems, we need to “carry out the filthiness” from the holy place, our souls.
In many of our churches today, our sanctuaries smell like a basketball locker room. It isn’t because we aren’t cleaning the carpets and pews. It is because of all the filth we bring in from the world. Our souls stink so our worship stinks. We come into the service on Sunday morning with the filth of the world all over us. We bring in financial burdens, health problems, blemishes from sin, doubts, and worries. The problem is that we leave this filth in the pew beside of us. We don’t want anyone to know how bad we really are doing so we just cover up our “stank” with some nice clothes, a white smile, and courtesy handshake to the preacher. We may be giving the perception of cleanliness, but the reality is that we still have the “stank.”
We must realize that we serve a dumpster-diving God. God is much less concerned with how clean people think you are compared to how clean you really are. The good news is that you don’t have to clean yourself up alone. Hezekiah had to carry the filthiness out of the temple himself. However, as Christians, we get to take our filth to the temple and let Jesus redeem it, recycle it, and reuse it. If you will take your filth and your trash to Jesus, He will give you a treasure.
With all the evil in this world today, from terrorism, massacres, drugs, natural disasters, and so much more, this world needs an alternative. They need an alternative from the hate, from the brokenness, from the sorrow, from the evil. They hear about this Jesus that loves them and is supposed to fix everything, but then they come to church and experience something very different. They come to church expecting to find community, love, and acceptance but end up finding isolation, hate, and rejection. If we want people to come to Jesus, we must show them that Jesus can clean them up just like He cleaned us up. They don’t need to see a dirty locker room overwhelmed by the smell of body spray. They need to see real people with real problems serving a real God.
This Sunday, as you walk into the sanctuary, be real and fall broken before your God at the alter and get up clean and refreshed. Don’t sit down with your “stank” and go through the motions. Worship with passion because the perfect Son of God became filth so that you could become perfect. People need to see you as you really are so that they can come as they really are. He, and He alone, carried our filth out of our temples. People are dying to know that He can do the same for them. Be real to be redeemed.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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