Several nights ago in the midst of the fog associated with the deepest sleep, I could faintly hear a dripping sound. The incessant cadence slipped through thick fog to implant itself in my conscience mind. I considered the possibilities. The sound could just be imagined. More likely, a faucet might be slightly "on" and occasionally splashing its' alert to me. Surely something so faint could not cause more harm than a bit of extra padding to the water bill. I ignored the quiet plea from my bathroom and continued my meandering journey through the subconscious playground called sleep.
The next morning, the validity of my nighttime evaluation was tested as I stumbled up to my bathroom cabinet to brush my teeth. My feet registered the sensation of dampness. "One of my four little blessings was a bit careless during last night's bedtime ritual and baptised my floor," I mouthed to the sleepy reflection. Then a momentary flash of distant dripping flashed through my mind. I crouched in front of the cabinet and realized to my horror that the cabinet was dripping water on top of my foot. My cupboard was flooded as was the surrounding flooring. That "harmless" little drip had been a warning long ignored that a pipe was leaking under my cabinet.
Today I am reading Titus 2. This chapter is brimming with practical instruction. Included in these thirteen short verses are guidelines for a variety of life stages for both genders. My personal favorite is Titus 2:3-5, where Paul lists some topics in which older women are to train younger women. I'm partial to any scripture that indicates there's a possibility I might still be able to be classified as a "younger woman".
This morning my heart is drawn just a few verses farther down the page to these words: "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say, "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." (Verses 11-12) I so desire to be taught to say, "No" to behavior that does not glorify God. These verses tell me that grace is my instructor. God's grace doesn't just woo me into relationship with Him, it instructs me in the path of righteousness.
- Grace Warns Me - The whisper of the Holy Spirit may be as faint as ping of my leaky faucet. Ignoring His correction and guidance allows a drip of sin into my life that results in a flood of damage to my reputation and relationships. I need to familiarize myself with His early warning system and respond to the drips before any real structural damage is done.
- Grace Sustains Me - The power of the Holy Spirit allows me to keep the faucet in the off position. My inclination is to wipe up the floor of my sin over and over rather than allow God to turn the shut-off valve. God's grace imprints the word, "no" over my lips and empowers me to utter those words when otherwise I'd be mute.
- Grace Transforms Me - Once I learn to hear His voice and give Him control over my faucets, God changes my plumbing. He replaces leaky joints like my mouth that talks out of turn with one that is pleased to keep silent. He refurbishes my tubing by replacing my negative thoughts with His gratitude.
The best thing about my Plumber is His services are free...they don't cost me anything but the willingness to rid myself of my old, rusty pipes. My bill and yours was stamped "Paid in Full" over 2,000 years ago. The Plumber's son pre-paid all our services. We just have to sign the bottom of the statement accepting His payment on our account.
Jesus, You are indeed the handiest of men because You are God become man. I will never fully understand the mystery of Your trek to earth and home but I know Your trip was worthwhile. You stayed just long enough to satisfy my account that was long overdue. Now Your skillful hands change me one leak at a time. Today, Jesus, I will remember Your grace that warns, sustains and transforms.