Trash day comes early Friday morning at our house. We know the trash truck is going to come by in the morning, scoop up our city issued container with its claw, dump the contents into the truck bin, and drive on to the next house down the road. Each Thursday evening before we head off to sleep we empty every trash can in the house, fill the container, and then move the trash buggy to the curb for pick up the next morning. There have been times that we have forgotten about the trash. Hearing the truck in the distance, we scramble to collect everything and get the trash to the curb before we miss the truck. No one wants to deal with garbage hanging around another week until the truck returns.
I stumbled onto an interesting portion of Scripture recently while reading through the first chapter of the gospel of Mark that deals with a different kind of trash – the spiritual variety. The account refers to the ministry of Jesus Christ in Galilee as he proceeded from synagogue to synagogue to preach and teach the good news of the Kingdom of God. It seems that in every synagogue he came to he had to serve as the spiritual trash man getting rid of the garbage that had accumulated through years of spiritual neglect in the synagogue system.
In Mark 1:23 the Bible mentions that Jesus was teaching in a synagogue and in the course of the meeting a demon possessed man began to manifest – not in the street – not in the market place – but in the synagogue itself. Later in v. 39 in a summary statement regarding the ministry of Jesus the Bible states that he “traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.” Apparently, the gathering place for the people of God had become so contaminated that the standing orders for Jesus at each location were to preach the gospel and drive out demons. When Jesus showed up, it was trash day and wherever he went he took out the trash.
It’s amazing to think that demon possession was this common AMONG the worshippers IN the synagogue system. With such a spiritual vacuum, however, it is understandable that the enemy would capitalize on the situation and move in with his influence. Fortunately in the local church we don’t have that big of a gaping hole because of the sanctified many that have experienced the new birth. But what we may lack in actual possessions (and yes I have had to personally deal with this as well in the Church), we more than make up for with other kinds of spiritual trash lurking in our hearts and homes. Just like Jesus, we need to be diligent to speak the Word over our lives and our homes and drive out anything that is impure, unholy, or unprofitable. Just like Jesus, let’s remember to regularly take out the spiritual trash in our own lives.
2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV – “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”