The Whole Ball of Wax (One Thing Leads to Another)
I must begin my writing today with a confession. Perhaps some of you will follow my lead, if need be, and just get this out in the open once and for all. Ready? I am lousy at taking my daily supplements! There. I said it. I’m not sure what it is about it, save possibly that some of them seem like horse pills, but other than that, one would think that it would not be a major issue to swallow a few (ahem—too many) capsules each day. I decided that one of the things I could do to make taking them as easy as possible would be to keep them in a more accessible place. After all, a walk across the kitchen can be a sufficient deterrent. So, I made the decision to move them, at least several days’ worth, onto the area where I eat breakfast, which happens to be my center island. To keep the island looking organized, I also determined that I needed a nice container in which to hold them. Since it is the fall season, I looked around for something that would be fitting fall décor. I hunted through cabinets and closets, rejecting this basket because it was too large, and that bowl because it didn’t look at all like an autumn piece, and that plastic holder because, well it was just pretty ugly. Then I looked in my corner cupboard and found a perfect vessel—a pretty fall-themed ceramic mug. I felt like Goldilocks upon her discovery of the perfect bear bed—the mug was not too big, not too small, but it was just right! There was only one problem—this ideal receptacle had at one time been used to hold votive candles, and the bottom third was still filled with wax.
Easy fix you say. I beg to differ with you, though at first I thought the same thing. I tried to just dig it out, but that was akin to pulling out a healthy adult tooth—it wouldn’t budge! So, I thought that maybe if I poured boiling water into the cup, I could pry out the stubborn wax blob and move on. I had very gradual success, and to make sure I did not put wax down the drain, which would have brought on a whole new set of problems, I used a strainer to catch the candle remains. Of course, some of the candle wax melted and did not come out in a nice big disposable blob, but in a stream that hardened once it hit the strainer. I did not let that fact deter my removal project, and I poured and chipped and scraped and strained until I was down to only a very light smear of wax that I was certain would dissolve in the dishwasher easily and without ugly consequences to the machine. However, now I had a strainer that I still wanted to be able to use for its original purpose, so I got an enamel pot in which to rinse the strainer with boiling water. That allowed the strainer to be ready for the dishwasher, but then I had wax floating on the surface and adhering to the sides of the pot! Eventually I poured the cooled water from the pot through a paper towel, rubbed and scraped out the rest of the offending wax, and placed the pot in the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Happily, all three items were restored.
Thinking back through the unwelcome and time-consuming experience, it seems that this is a pattern that can so easily ensue in relation to sin. Maybe there’s one problem that causes us to stumble. We don’t dig it out, but we cover it up, and inevitably it carries over to something else so that it stains another part of our being. We don’t stop there either, and we allow sin to continue to consume more of our hearts and minds until it is just one big ugly ball of wax. We are left alienated from God and his ultimate purpose for us.
The Bible speaks about sin in this way: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15, ESV). Ouch! Thankfully there is a perfect solution. “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:9-10, ESV). How much easier life would be if we were so in tune with God that we would immediately recognize and admit our offenses against the Lord and confess them to him without delay! It should be every believer’s desire to be so transparent with him and to always ask his forgiveness for those things we might have done and those things we have left undone. God’s cleansing is complete, and it restores us to a pure and right relationship with him, a perfect vessel (with no wax buildup) that can be used for the purpose he has in mind.
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