October 19: Soul Cleansing

Read Zechariah 13:1-9

There is something so refreshing about a shower after a few hours of yard or garden work on a hot, humid summer day. Letting the soap and water cleanse your body of the sweat, dirt, and grass that clings to your body is a good feeling.

But while physical cleansing can be a pleasant experience, soul cleansing is often painful. It is that experience that Zechariah describes as he prophesies of future days for Jerusalem and the nation of Israel (v. 1,). Although the thoughts shared here are specific for that nation, there are some parallels for those of us in the church.

What does that cleansing look like? In the process of soul cleansing, what can we anticipate?

1. The removal of idols (v. 2). I’m guessing that most people you know do not have stone or wooden images in their homes . . . images that represent unseen deities. Meanwhile, it is a very possible that there are those objects or priorities that we allow to compete for the position that God alone wants to fill. Remove those from your life.

2. The elimination of false prophets (vv. 3-6). The prophets indicated here were not speaking words that God revealed. Instead, whether out of ignorance or out of an attempt at personal gain, they presented teaching inconsistent with God’s. With all of the technological advancements, many voices and messages have access to your ear. Are their some you need to eliminate?

3. A reduction in number (vv. 7-9a). Zechariah describes only one-third who survive the cleansing process. Although it is unclear whether this third represents the only true people of faith or not, the New Testament tells us that there are people who claim a commitment to Christ but don’t really have one (Matt. 7:22, 23). Would you make the cut as a genuine follower of Christ? First John 5:11-13 can help you know.

4. Faithfulness through testing (v. 9b). Refining and testing require challenges and adversity. According to Romans 5 and James 1, those experiences will characterize the lives of believers. Are you allowing those kinds of experiences to enable you to come to reflect the person of Jesus in your life?

Embrace the process of soul cleansing today!