Devotions

Filthy Rags

Isaiah 64:6 (NIV):  All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

I use rags. In fact, the above picture is of my rags from my barn. Living on 51 acres means that I have tools and machinery that need attention regularly. I also spill things on the concrete floor of my barn. I use rags to clean things up, check oil, wipe my hands, etc. You get the picture (literally). My rags get filthy.

I also like to think of myself as a pretty good guy. I do good things. I unload the dishwasher without being encouraged to. I put my dirty clothes in the hamper. I have even given cash to others who seem to be in need. I do “righteous acts.”

Here is the problem. Isaiah clearly states that my righteous acts are like my filthy rags. I want to be honest. When I look at my rags I don’t think of anything pure or righteous. Yet Isaiah said it. In fact he also says that we are “unclean,” and that we will all end up shriveled like a leaf and blown away by the wind because of our sins.

Understanding the seriousness of sin in our lives is critical. I now understand that sin is anything, to include what I may think is good, that is not aligned with a pure and holy God. Seeing sin that way, I realize that my rags would never be appropriate to wear at the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. I need something pure and white. I need the Lord to take care of my sins. Isaiah shares that “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

I feel so blessed that I live after Jesus died on the cross to take care of my sin. Now I have the righteousness of Jesus to take the place of my filthy rags (Romans 3:22).

Prayer: Lord God, may I always take sin seriously. May I always align with Your plans and purposes for my life. Thank You that You have forgiven my sin through what Jesus did on the cross so that I can take on His righteousness and experience an eternity with You.

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