Do You Need a Bath?

Note: This is not Winston. He is much too modest to allow me to publish a picture of him bathing!

It was time.

We had postponed it long enough, and now it was inevitable. The deciding factor was the worm he had rolled on, in joyful doggy abandon, in the backyard. Prior to that, several happy romps in the rain, frequent and furious games of fetch, and the day-to-day experiences of living a foot off the ground in a fur coat had produced, to put it delicately, a distinctly organic aroma.

Thankfully, unlike my previous dog, who would head to the farthest corner of the house to hide under a dresser whenever I ran bathwater, Winston is generally cooperative. I accomplished his bath with a minimum amount of trauma to both of us.  Though he was soaking wet, I was only slightly damp. A definite success.

After his emancipation from the bathroom, he romped through the house at full speed. Tongue lolling and ears flapping, he careened around corners, bounced across beds, and raced down the hallway at breakneck speed.  Though he couldn't admit it, it was obvious from his antics that he felt GOOD after his bath.

After witnessing Winston's bath experience, I realized the parallel between him in all his doggieness and us as believers. 

We get dirty as we walk through this world. Living in a sinful world causes us to come in contact with debris that make us dingy. Unkind thoughts cling to us as we struggle in personal relationships. Anger stains the edges of our heart as we live with difficult circumstances. Lust splashes onto us as we gaze too long at a movie, television, or book we'd be better off without.

Hopefully these sins don't characterize us, but they do affect us. They don't change our position as God's children, but they do cast a haze over the windows of our soul as we seek to reflect the Christ who lives in our hearts.

Jesus spoke to his disciples about this problem in John 13. Stooping down to wash their feet, he explained that as they walked through the world, they would become tainted by sin. He reassured Peter that while sin in a believer's life doesn't negate his salvation, it does harm his fellowship with God and others. Because of this, a believer needs to "bathe" regularly. Jesus used the physical example of washing Peter's feet to show him his need for regular spiritual cleansing.

God's word encourages us to "bathe" our spirits regularly in order to maintain a clean and happy heart, a powerful testimony, and an effective prayer life. Here are three suggestions to help us stay clean in a dirty world:

1.  Invite God to search our hearts and reveal any conscious or unconscious sin. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23).

2.  Confess our sin in honesty and repentance. "If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

3.  Accept God's forgiveness and commit, with His help, to change. "And Jesus said to her (the woman caught in adultery), "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

4. Walk in the joy that comes from a clean heart, knowing that when when we are clean, we are most like our Savior.  "And to her (the church) it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. . . . And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him (Jesus) on white horses" (Revelation 19: 8, 14).

May God richly bless you as you seek to glorify Him.

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  2. Isn't it wonderful how God uses our canine friends to teach us such marvelous truths? :) Thank you, Winston, and thank you, Lori, for being the "ready writer" to capture them and share them with your readers!

    1. Kim,
      I've learned so much about spiritual things by watching and interacting with my furry friends. I think it's because God has stamped his imprint on all creation, and if we look hard enough, we can see him everywhere! Thanks for stopping by today :)

  3. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Ah, a good analogy and a good read. :) I'm getting ready to go take a "bath" myself. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It's amazing how good we feel after a good old fashioned spiritual bath. I'm so glad God made provision for those dirty days :) Thanks for stopping by today.

  4. Great analogy! (And cute picture too, it looks like my beagle!)

    Yes, our "feet" (i.e. our hearts) go out in the world and need to be washed!

    Thanks so much for linking up to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party today! :)

  5. Interestingly, my quiet time thought today is to "seek God's examination of my heart." Your words and funny but true metaphor for this are spot on, Lori, and really convicting as well! Thanks for giving me a laugh as I considered my own furry friend (who needs a bath!) and my dirty soul as well. Thankfully we serve a God who is in the business of purifying our hearts! :)