The Desperate Need to Be Clean

As I crawled into the back of the truck, I quickly sat down and tried not to move. If I moved, I could feel it… I could feel all the mud. It was everywhere- in my hair, nose, ears, mouth.. don’t even get me started on the rest of my body. As a new Soldier going through basic training for the U.S. Army, I had been dirty before. This was different though. This training exercise was meant to push us to the limit. The field we crawled through probably had grass at one point, but not that night. That night it was just a giant mud pit. This wasn’t merely a sanctioned ‘mud fight’ either. We were being yelled at, forced to crawl on our bellies, stick our faces into the mud, practically breathe it all in. We were cold, tired, hungry.. but most of all we were dirty.

That night was probably the most dirty I have ever been in my life.

need to be clean

The Desperate Need to Be Clean

Dirty. Grimy. Gross. Have you ever been there?

Have you ever been so dirty that all you wanted to do was get clean? I am not talking about just taking a quick shower. I am talking about washing away extreme grossness.

Sometimes we willingly put ourselves into situations that will cause extreme grossness– here’s looking at you ‘tough mudder.’ However, sometimes your state of filth is most decidedly not from something fun. Sometimes, it isn’t just that you need a shower, but that the need to ‘be clean’ trumps everything else. Sometimes, you are absolutely desperate to be clean.

At these times, you want to get clean as soon as possible. It becomes an all-encompassing, overriding need.

But what about those times when your filth is not something that can just be washed away? What if you are dirty on the inside? How do you clean that?

  • Maybe you are struggling with ugly attitudes towards someone you used to call a friend.
  • Maybe you are coming to terms with past abuse.
  • Maybe you are trying to overcomes guilt from mistakes you made in your youth.
  • Maybe you lost your temper.
  • Maybe you are living a lie.

need to be clean

How do you clean the filth that is eating away at you from the inside?

  • Make getting clean a priority. James 4:7-8 talks about Godly submission and the fact that if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. Hebrews 10:22 also talks about how ‘drawing near to God will cleanse us from a guilty conscience.’ God can’t stand filth. So, if you are serious about not being dirty, standing in the presence of the Lord will certainly spotlight the areas of your life that need the most cleansing.
  • Stop doing things that will get you dirty. Romans 12:1-2 directs Jesus-followers to ‘present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.’ Holy. Set apart. Pure. The only way to be pleasing to God is to becomes holy. If you want to be clean, stop living dirty. How do you do that? Well, you can start by stopping the worldly habits and behaviors that cause you to become impure and unholy before a righteous and blameless God.
  • Once you are cleansed, don’t go jumping back into the mud! Ephesians 4:31-32 admonishes us to ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another.’ It also instructs us to ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.’ In other words, get rid of the filth in your heart… get rid of the ugliness. Then, choose to live in such a way that you won’t easily get dirty again.
  • Don’t rely only on your own actions to get and stay clean. Why not? Because honestly, you can’t get and stay clean on your own. You need God’s help. You need Jesus. You need the blood of Jesus, which is the only thing that can cleanse you from your sins. The blood of Jesus, which is the only thing that can make you clean, pure, and holy. Psalm 51:10 begs God to ‘Create in me a pure heart, .. and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’ The way you get clean is through the blood of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 1:18 previews this gospel cleansing– ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.’

So, what about that disgusting night of training?

Well, when we returned to the barracks after the uber-muddy training exercise, I showered before I did anything else.. and it felt soooo good. At first I just stood there and let the chunks of mud fall off my body. Then I washed my hair. It took three washes to get the mud out. After I was clean, it felt decadent to put on dry, clean clothes.

need to be clean

The process of getting clean brought me so much relief. I think you can relate to that. I mean, the body is not meant to be dirty.

And you know what? The soul is not meant to be dirty either.

So, how do you clean the filth that is eating away at you on the inside? Seek out Jesus. Jesus can provide the cleansing you so desperately want and need.

And really, it is that simple.

Thanks so much for reading!


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  1. You hit our need right on the tender spot, our hearts. Somehow we can easily dismiss our ‘filth’ until we see ourselves before a Holy God. God bless you, Sara.