Whenever I leave the house, I usually grab a pair of my Chucks from the laundry room and head out. There are moments when I am taking a walk and realize that my shoestrings are loose because I didn’t take enough time getting ready. In a pair of Converse, it is my opinion that you can notice loose shoestrings easier. I could easily bend over and tighten the laces; however, I usually continue walking, hoping that the laces will hold out until the walk is finished. Many times, I find myself having to do more than tighten the laces, but retie my shoes because holding out doesn’t work. This takes longer, but I continue with this bad habit every time I feel the laces are loose.
In life, we often see “loose shoestrings” but we let them go. We turn a blind eye. We think it won’t get any worse. We plan to take care of it later. We don’t take the steps we know we should take to get everything resolved. We neglect the shoestrings. We let them come undone and drag on the ground. Sadly, we typically only need to take a few small steps to prevent or resolve the issue.
I am not talking about loose shoestrings alone. Consider the chaos that unfolds in life. Your sinful habits. Your unbalanced schedules. Your explosive relationships. Your lack of boundaries. Your hurtful words. Your life many times is the loose shoestring. But instead of veering back on the narrow path and correcting the issues, we put on Band-Aids. We cover up the issue. We pretend it is not there. Whenever we try to pretend—whenever we try to move forward with the lies and sin and chaos of this world—we are allowing the father of lies to continue to keep hold on us. Instead, bend over to tie your shoes! Grab hold of Truth. Cling to your Father. Allow Him to move in your life and watch what happens!
“Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.’
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
You hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
– Psalm 16:1-6 [ESV]
Jacob wanted to build an altar to God. An altar represents the presence of God—it was how one would have an encounter with God. He recognized the need to be clean before a holy God. He commanded everyone to toss out all of the other gods. They were to rid themselves of anything and everything that was not God the one true God. Then Jacob commanded that they take “a good bath and put on clean clothes.” They were purifying themselves. This was an outward display to signify a change of heart—a ceremonial cleansing.
Many scholars see this bathing as a likeness to baptism as this washing was done to signify their choice to serve the one true God. Baptism is an immersion into water or sprinkling of water which signifies purification. It is the ceremony people participate in when they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In doing this, people choose to give their lives to the one true God. By doing so, you receive the Holy Spirit and therefore have the presence of God within you.
You may have already been baptized, but you might not have tossed out all of the alien gods in your life. Something might be pulling you away from the presence of God. Evaluate where you are today and see if anything is taking the place of God in your life. He should be first always. Today is a good day for a cleaning. Let us put on clean clothes and walk forward in His presence.
“Jacob told his family and all those who lived with him, ‘Throw out all the alien gods which you have, take a good bath and put on clean clothes, we’re going to Bethel. I’m going to build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I’ve gone since.’”
-Genesis 35:2-3 [MSG]