Life is increasingly filled with more to do, so to help out more I've taken on the task doing the dishes at our home. It's a solitary task and provides me an opportunity to think.
During a recent cleaning episode I was thinking about the stressful situations that had been building and I was looking to hear from God something encouraging, something that would refocusing my thoughts. I was laying my thoughts out before Him and asking for His perspective. That's when He brought the sponge to my mind.
"The sponge." you ask?
Yes - consider the sponge.
A sponge spends it's life absorbing and getting squeezed, and when squeezed, pouring what it has absorbed over something else. It's one of the central figures in my dishwashing adventures.
It was funny to think about at the time and It's still funny to consider the parallels between the sponge and life, especially the life of a Christian. Sometimes it feels that we go through alternating periods of getting squeezed. Yeah, it feels like we do...
But, have you ever considered what comes out of your life when you're "squeezed?" Have you thought about how what pours out of your life is directly related to what you've absorbed - what you have allowed in? I did as I washed my dishes. I was intrigued. I asked, "God, show me."
He brought to my mind the scriptures that speak of Himself being like water to our thirsty souls (1). He gave to me the words "be filled" which is referenced so many times throughout scripture (2). He reminded me that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of [what us in] the heart (3). It is unmistakable to me that what we are filled with is what will pour out of our lives - especially, and perhaps most importantly, when we are "pressed" - during those times when we feel as though we are being squeezed.
Some would say that the appropriate response of a Christian is to pray pressure away - "get thee behind me Satan!" I'm certaintly not a fan of feeling like I'm being pressed too hard, but God help us to see the opportunity to begin pouring out the surplus of the life-giving Spirit the God has desired that we be filled with. Moreover, he has invited us to ask him to fill us!
Even Christ, as he was headed the cross was unmistakenly fixated on His Sovereign purpose of being "crushed and bruised" for us, for having His life be "poured out" for us. Or consider Paul as He looked forward to completing the purposes that God intended for his life and be penned these words: "...my life is being poured out as a drink offering..." (4)
We have the responsibility to fill our minds and hearts with the Word of God, to seek that He would fill us with His wisdom and His Spirit (5). But let us not stop there. Let us continue on and ask God that what He has poured into us would flow freely from us as we are presented with opportunity.
Don't shrink back. Christ didn't and Paul said the same. In us dwells the same Spirit that longs to reach out of us. That's what we were created for!
Today, take inventory of what your heart and mind are filled with. What you find is what will pour out of you when the time comes. Ask yourself: will it bring life to someone? Will it be seen by another as the evidence of Christ in your life? Will they see the unmistakable fingerprint of a good and loving God?
So, consider the sponge. It's purpose is to absorb and be poured out.
Is yours so different?
This is your day, God. I am your child. Let me be filled with your Spirit and use me to bring honor and glory to your name.
1. John 7:37,38
2. Ephesians 3:19 (and much more...)
3. Luke 6:45
4. 2 Timothy 4:6
5. James 1:5, John 16:24, Matthew 7:7