The lesson of the tennis shoes

It was time. I’d been putting it off for far too long.  I dread the process but it had to be done. Replacing old tennis shoes is always traumatic for me.  Once in the store, I began the process of trying on new styles, but honestly, I’m not picky.

It really didn’t take me long to find a suitable pair of new shoes and as I was putting the new tennis shoes back in the box to check out, I noticed something troubling.  Inadvertently, one of the new shoes ended up right next to my old shoe on the floor.  The contrast in color grabbed my attention. WOW! These new shoes are very, very white. Conversely, (pun intended) my old comfortable shoes were not even in the white category any more.  Ironically, though, just the other day I was thinking how these same old tennis shoes didn’t look that bad considering their age.  Now, sitting next to their new replacements, these old shoes look unquestionably old and dirty.  And then right there in Sears, the Spirit spoke the lesson of the tennis shoes to me.

How many times has that exact scenario played out in our lives?  We look at the lives we are living – the lives that are so comfortable to us – and we think “I’m doing pretty good.”  We know we aren’t perfect but then, who of us is, right?  We are so comfortable in our sin that we don’t even notice it any more.

That is, until our lives are laid beside Jesus’ life.  The contrast between my old tennis shoes and the new one really caught my attention.  The same thing happens when we get a good look at Jesus.  The lives we are so comfortable with, when compared to the purity of Jesus, look incredibly dirty.  With a new pair of white shoes, every mark, every smudge stands out so clearly.  But with time, the dirt and the smudges increase until the white shoes are just “generally” white or “mostly” white.  The same is true in our lives.  Sin and worldly living smudge our lives just like dirt smudges our shoes.  If we are not careful, sin builds up and builds up until we are only “mostly” clean in our eyes.  Not clean like Jesus but certainly cleaner than the world, right?
The lesson of the tennis shoes is simply this – make sure you are spending time close to Jesus so that you can clearly see the sin in your life.  Comfortable shoes are hard to let go and so are comfortable lives in sin.  Put on the clean shoes of Christ today.

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