Sin Shoveling


He sends the Holy Spirit to sanctify and prevent new sin from taking hold.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (niv)

It’s been a banner year for snowfall in our Midwestern hometown. Fre- quent storms dropped enough snow to measure in feet instead of inches. While blankets of white decorate the neighborhood and provide the fun of sledding and skiing, lots of snow also means lots of shoveling.

Our driveway isn’t huge, but we have to clear it to get our car out to the street. This winter we’ve experienced the unique torments of various kinds of snow. Snow with an icy crust steals the traction and causes slipping and skidding as we work. Wet snow is heavy and backbreaking. Sleety snow stings our face as we work.

But by far the worst snow-shoveling experience is working while snow is still falling. Sometimes when the weather report warns of ten inches by morning, we have to make a start on it so it doesn't pile to unmanageable heights. Nothing is as disheartening as scraping and tossing for an hour, only to look back and see all the freshly cleared pavement covered again. It reminds me of my efforts to clear sin out of life. I notice I’ve been griping too much, and resolve to change my attitude, but before an hour goes by, I’ve complained about something new. Or, perhaps I manage to stifle the grumbling, and instead find that now I’m discouraged about a problem and not walking in trust and faith.

I try and try to scrape away the messy motivations and selfish traits, but every time I turn around, there is more to deal with. Last time we had a blizzard, our neighbor stopped by. “I just got a new snowplow. Want me to clean out your driveway for you?” What a gift! That’s just the way Jesus interrupts me in my crazy sin-shoveling efforts. “You can’t do it yourself, remember? Confess and let me cleanse you.” His forgiveness is complete, and then like salt melts away ice on the sidewalk, He sends the Holy Spirit to sanctify and prevent new sin from taking hold.

FAITH STEP: Have you noticed a blizzard of thoughts, words, attitudes or actions you’d like to clear from your soul? Invite Jesus to do the work of sin-shoveling.

Written by Sharon Hinck

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