As I sat in my basement one evening the light reflected off of a wall which to my disgust was covered in dirt and handprints. I don’t have little ones in the house anymore but they do visit. This grunge I realized was an accumulation of many hands resting on that wall to get up our stairs.


Although this made me sentimental about all of the hands that have graced our house, this called for disinfectant. I sprayed and washed and thanked God for all the love we have received within those handprints but then I started to be dismayed. Have you ever started washing a spot on a wall only to realize that spot highlighted the dirtiness of the rest of it? Once you press into clean one spot, your eyes are highlighted to much more that is connected with it. All of a sudden I am taking down clocks and washing those and seeing how that wall is connected to that wall and so on…The most disconcerting realization was that some of those places haven’t been washed since we took up residence 5 years ago!

Ok before you pass too much judgment on my housekeeping skills, stay with me as I share what God revealed to me in these moments. Isn’t this how God cleans our character to become more like Him? At first it takes some light to shine on the issue. This can take many forms but often it is squeezed out by our circumstances. We don’t realize the dirt that has accumulated until it starts rising to the surface because we have expectations or  hurt, or we are discouraged or grieving. Perhaps it is just in our seeking of Him that the dross in our character rises to the surface for God to touch and heal.

As these things start to be cleansed you realize other things are connected to that as well and God wants to go a bit deeper. Process… the dreaded p word. Process is always in layers. Can you imagine if it wasn’t? We would explode in the unraveling. It isn’t always easy this unraveling, in fact I believe we often make it harder and more complicated than it needs to be. Our flesh and spirit shadowbox in a collision of independence and surrender.

Shadowboxing – spar with an imaginery opponent as a form of training. boxing-40747_640We fight our circumstances instead of giving in to the process of character development. We seek His will looking for clarity in something when all our flesh really wants is an easy way out. It is hard for us to engage when things are pressing in on all sides. This reminded of me of Jesus in the garden, when He faced the ultimate rejection from the Father and asked if the cup could be taken from Him. He was most definitely human and God in that moment. I loved how Pastor John Gray said it in his sermon this week at Lifechurch, “The reason my salvation is authentic is because his obedience was not automatic.”

Even Jesus felt overwhemed to the point of death. These moments though, lead to surrender. As Pastor Gray expressed,”There are some places that are only reserved for you and God.”holiness-1207699_640

 “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

I encourage you to give in to the cleaning process as places are highlighted in your heart. Dig into God’s word and see what He has to say about the subject. Let your shadowboxing evolve to fighting the good fight of faith and going the distance with God. He will open the door to healing and invite you in.

John Ortberg wrote,” God is a door opener, not a celestial enabler…God’s primary will for you is the person you become.”

What are you shadowboxing today that is hindering you from becoming all that God wants you to be? What is the light of Jesus shining on? As you press in to get God to clean that place be encouraged that He loves you too much to leave you that way and NOTHING is too hard for Him. His blood is the perfect disinfectant.


Pastor John Gray –

John Ortberg –