After twenty-five years of constant use, our bathrooms were in desperate need of an upgrade. We finally bit the bullet and surrendered one summer to this renovation project. It was messy, expensive, and tiring, but well worth it in the end. Personally, the crown jewel of the project was the new 60” glass door bathroom shower in the master bedroom. Unlike the shower stall, this new shower was spacious, airy, and full of light, not to mention the double shower heads and fancy chrome sprays that could come at you from all angles while you relaxed on the built-in bench. It was resort-style bathing and we loved it.
But after a year my wife noticed that mold was building up behind the bench. The contractor had stuffed caulking between the bench and the glass panel opposite the shower fittings to prevent water from getting into that crease. But his plan backfired. The caulking could not prevent moisture from getting trapped inside and soon mold began to build up at an alarming rate. We tried poking in a coat hanger with a sponge soaked in detergent to clean it but that only helped a little. Then we applied a healthy dose of anti-mold spray and that also failed to resolve the problem. Finally, we removed the caulking from around the space and left it open. You guessed it! The air rushed in and soon the mildew was history.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that often we look for complicated and often expensive solutions to problems when there are in fact very simple ones. For example, we all desire freedom from the guilt, power, and eventual penalty of sin, and although God has made salvation free to all humanity on the back of his Son’s self-sacrifice at Calvary, still billions prefer to earn their way to freedom from sin through the observance of tedious rules and the performance of gory sacrifices. Worse, we know from experience that all these works aimed at self-redemption are ineffective because none of them can purge the conscience from guilt or free the heart from the burden of unforgiven sin. “In those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Heb.10:3-4). Simply put, repetition implies imperfection. And all religious systems are built upon rituals that must be observed to perpetuity.
With the finished work of Christ in mind, the seers call on us to let in the oxygen when the mildew of sin begins to threaten our lives. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray (Jas.5:13). Is anyone anxious? Let him pray (Phil.4:6). Is anyone tempted? Let him pray (Mt.26:41). Is anyone being persecuted falsely? Let him pray (Mt.5:44).
When the prophet Daniel heard that the king had issued a decree prohibiting religious duty he went home and opened his windows towards Jerusalem and prayed thrice daily (Dan.6:10).
Prayer is oxygen for the soul, and it is free. So, let us cease from profitless and unnecessary strivings to clear our consciences and cleanse our hearts from the power and guilt of sin. There is an easier way. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn.1:9).
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