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One thing about Taichung is that there’s a lot of dust in the air. Most things outside, including buildings are grayish in color from a layer of inevitable dust. Many people wear a mask to cover their nose & mouth. When I run, my lungs feel somewhat congested from breathing in all the dust in the air. I recently got a mask myself. The presence of dust is inside our home too. No matter how often we clean the floor, it gets covered with dust shortly after. Therefore, cleaning the floor & dusting furniture have become never ending tasks that we have to keep up to bring health & cleanliness to our family.

This has direct spiritual implication. Whether we realize it or not pollutants are always entering our hearts & lives from all around. We can try hard to keep them out, but as long as we are in the world contamination will occur. This is why we have to be careful about where we go, what we watch, and what we allow in our lives. I am not trying to promote isolation from the world for God has sent us into the world to proclaim Christ, but we do have to make healthy choices about our spiritual lives knowing that we will come up short.

This is where JESUS CHRIST comes in.

Even though we live in a polluted world that robs us of our health, what Jesus has done on the cross is potent enough to cleanse our spirit from pollution & contaminants. Jesus alone purifies us completely now & forever. What a comfort that is because even when we close the windows, and even when we clean the floor every day, dust manages to find the interior of our apartment.

1 John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and PURIFY us from all unrighteousness.”

I like the sound of that… that He will purify us from all unrighteousness.

I know that this is what Jesus has done 2,000 years ago on Calvary, but what is so powerful is that He continues to purify us now & until we see Him face to face.

Being on the mission field, I am confronted with issues of the heart that I didn’t have to address before because of busyness, distractions & even self-righteousness. But here in dusty Taichung, God has been blowing the dust to reveal the true condition of my heart. It may be because our lives have been simplified or that there are less distractions. Whatever it is, in the simplicity of my life here, I am able to remove the mounds of dust that have been covering my heart.

I know that we are here to serve the lost. But on this dusty harvest field, it seems that God wants to work in us first before He uses us to reach others. He has shown me how underneath my humility lies pride that isn’t so easily blown away by anything, how my love even on my best days is contaminated, and though I am standing on the Rock (my salvation is secure in Christ), there are still areas that are built on sand, sand that is shaped by the ever changing direction of the wind.

In the Old Testament, putting dust on someone’s head signifies mourning. In Job 2:12, we read that Job’s 3 friends seeing his suffering “tore their robes & sprinkled dust on their heads.” It also means repentance as in Nehemiah 9:1, “On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.”

There have been many times of mourning & repentance here. Although there is still much dust to be swept away, my heart feels lighter. Of course I must never forget that dust has a way of finding its place back. This is why we must cling to the One who has created man from the dust of the ground for He alone can breathe life into us & keep us.