Filter and Substance


God's Word removes the algae and bacteria of life, then fills us with His wisdom.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. -- Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)


When we moved to Texas several years ago, we were warmly welcomed by our new Gateway family. I can also say we were just as warmly welcomed by the Texas summer sun. As we looked for our new homestead, I was hesitant to buy a house with a swimming pool. Being a previous pool owner, I was fully aware of the responsibility of maintaining a swimming pool; however, the Texas heat made us do it! We ended up becoming proud owners of a small, sometimes clean, sometimes efficient, swimming pool. 

Through trial and error, I have definitely learned a pool requires daily attention. A body of water that’s not constantly moving will have a gradual build-up of algae and bacteria. A swimming pool needs to cycle all of its water through a clean filter, with the right combination of substances, several times daily. If neglected, a body of water will turn swamp-green with algae, and it takes a while to get it back to clean, pure, refreshing, swimmable water.

Our lives are very similar to the body of water we call a swimming pool. They need daily attention, daily filtering, and daily infusions of the right substances. When we fail to get our daily infusion of time with God, we can become polluted by the stuff of this world. However, when we turn our attention to God in prayer and worship, leaving behind the cares of this world, our thinking, hearing, and vision become more clear. His presence—His clean filter—purifies us. 

In the same way, when we spend time in God’s Word, all the things that pollute and destroy us fall away. Our lives become clean and pure before God. In fact, Ephesians 5:26 says that we can be cleaned “with the washing of water by the word.” His Word removes the algae and bacteria of life, then fills us with His wisdom.

Without the substance of God’s Word and filter of His presence, we end up being shaped by and conformed to this world. The good news is, His mercy and love invite us in. We can bring all of our filth, pollution, and sin to His filter, and He will clean us and make us pure and beautiful. When we are willing to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, He promises to transform us, renew us, and fill us with the substance of His Word. 


Dear heavenly Father, I lay my life before You today as a living sacrifice. I surrender everything to You. Purify me and cleanse me. Fill me with Your wisdom. Help me to hear Your voice and follow Your path. Amen.

For Further Study

  • Ezekiel 36:25John 17:14–19Psalm 51:7

-- Mark Harris

Taken from Created to Be, a Gateway devotion.

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