Oh, the challenges of home ownership! Last week I noticed that the airflow of our clothes dryer exhaust vent was rather weak. Sometime ago I had read about lint buildup in dryer exhaust ducts and the fire hazard such buildups present. So I tried to clean out the ducts, and I did find a lot of lint. However, in the process of cleaning, the ducts somehow got disconnected … in the crawlspace under the house. In the end I had to call for professional help.
As it turned out, the technician discovered that the exhaust ducts were so much outdated, made of plastic, and in violation of the current safety code. (The house was built in the 1980’s.) The exhaust system had to be replaced and we ended up having to say goodbye to some significant amount of cash.
But we noticed a very positive result. Doing laundry that night, Grace noticed that the dryer had become much more efficient. She “complained” that now she had to figure out new time settings, because her former settings were “over drying” the clothes. Now, in addition to safety, we get to enjoy efficiency as well—both worth the “sacrifice” of monetary loss.
When the airflow of a dryer’s exhaust system is restricted, it takes longer for clothes to dry because moisture isn’t ejected efficiently. At the same time, it causes the dryer to operate at elevated temperatures, which could result in dryer breakdown or, worse, the lint buildup to catch fire.
This matter of an efficient exhaust system provides a good analogy for our spiritual life. The exhaust system for the spirit is called “confession.” When this is not functioning properly, our discipleship and spiritual growth are hindered, and our witness to the gospel is compromised. If we refuse or neglect to confront the presence of disobedience in our lives, and fail to confess it before the Lord, it can buildup (like lint in a dryer exhaust duct) and endanger our spiritual life. So scripture urges us: “When you become aware of your guilt … you must confess your sin” (Leviticus 5.5 NLT). Also, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12.1 NIV).
And God’s promise is always worth holding on to: “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1.9 NRSV). Like our clothes dryer after the exhaust system repair and cleanup, with hindrances removed, we can begin to function like true disciples again because the Lord makes us like new.
—Keith Y. Jainga