The Air I Breathe

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence; take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.
PSALM 51:10-12
HAVE YOU EVER FELT LIKE YOU WERE JUST TRUDGING through life? that the things and activities that once brought you joy and energized you now felt like drudgery or a heavy drag? that the delight you once experienced in your Christian walk and relationships has grown cold?   Maybe God is trying to get your attention.
It wasn’t long ago that I was cutting up firewood with my chainsaw.  After a time, I noticed that  my saw did not seem to be operating properly.  It was easily bogging down and was struggling to cut through even small branches.
The first thing I thought was that my chain was getting dull and needed sharpening, so I stopped the saw to check.  The chain was still sharp and tight, and the bar oil checked out fine.  Determining the chain was not the issue, I took a little time to explore things more closely.
What I found was the air filter was clogged with sawdust, choking the air flow off to the engine.  It only took a few moments to clean the filter and the area surrounding it of accumulated sawdust and oil.  Restarting the engine, I went back to cutting wood.  The saw jumped back to life and ran perfectly, cutting with renewed power and speed.
I think that life in Christ is much the same.  When I came to faith in Christ, I found incredible joy and energy to be about the Lord’s work.  I loved my time in the Word, my time in prayer, my time sharing my faith, my time in fellowship with other believers.  I loved dreaming about, and planning for, my future life in ministry.
But life happens.  There were times I would grow careless about the maintenance of my soul.  I would allow myself too much unguarded time with worldly concerns and too little time in the Word and prayer.  The result was that my spiritual passions and pursuits began to bog down.  I became ineffective in nearly everything I would undertake in regard to my faith and the kingdom of God—no energy, no pep, no joy.  Though I knew better, I ignored the warning signs and did not tend to the disciplines I knew were necessary for my walk with Christ.  Everything became spiritual drudgery and a tedious labor.
If you are a Christian, God has given you the gift of the indwelling of His Holy Spirit as a Comforter and Guide.  He is the warning light on the dashboard of our lives.  He is the One who convicts and unsettles our conscience when we stray from the path of purity, holiness, and obedience.
If we would only take the time to examine the condition of the multi-layered filters that God has given us, we would probably find that they are clogged with the clutter and filth of the world in which we live.  We would find that we have spent too much time sucking in the entertainment and values of the culture.  If we would ask the Lord to flush clean the filters of our heart and mind, we could once again live and function as God intends.

“In Him we live and move and have our being.
ACTS 17:28

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
~JOB 33:4

I have known people who, when an engine bogs down—whether a chainsaw or a car—because of a filthy clogged air filter, they simply remove the filter.  The rush of power from the unrestricted airflow to the engine is noticeable.  “Who needs a stinking air filter?” they say.  And for a while their engine runs great!  But if they do not address the situation properly by putting a clean air filter in, it will not be long before the engine comes to a screeching halt, literally destroyed by the pollutants the engine sucked in due to the missing filter.
This, too, is a picture of what happens within an unguarded spirit or soul.  “Who needs the filters of the Spirit or the Word?” they say.  “My life runs just fine without them.”  There will come a time when that soul will lie wounded, broken and disabled by all of the contamination of the world and their own sinfulness.
It is important that we take the time necessary to tend to the welfare of our souls.  Paul tells us beautifully how to do that.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
 whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.