Well, off he went and began the load. “Did you add the bleach?” inquired my bride? His answer was in the affirmative and so nothing more was thought of concerning the towels. That is, until I removed them from the dryer to fold them and put them away. By now, most of you reading this have already assumed what happened, and you would be right. The towels were clean, dry, and… spotted with bleach stains. He willingly followed his mom’s command to add the bleach. However, he never followed the directions into the proper application of that bleach.
Why do I tell you this? Because I believe that it is possible to apply the right tools in the wrong way.
I believe there is a “bleach” principle that we, as Christians, must take to heart. I have heard, and perhaps you have too, that to overcome the overflow of sin in our lives we need to read the Bible more, we need to pray more, get more involved in church and so on. But how? Well-meaning Christians give commands with no direction to their proper application. So, then, the struggling sinner is left to figure out how to apply the command without any instruction. What comes out is a mottled and distorted saint who has nothing more than bleach stains upon their life rather than a process of cleansing and growth that will purify and mature their lives.
Someone comes to you with a desperate problem and your response is, “You should pray about it.” Okay, how? The disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Maybe you were set upon by a stumbling sinner and your response was, “Just obey the Bible.” But how? Paul reminded Timothy of his own approach, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings… But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (2 Timothy 3:10-14).
We leave people in the dark about the proper application of God’s word, expecting that they will intrinsically know what to do. I’m teaching my daughter how to drive. I do not, however, just hand her the keys and say, “Go for it!” We cannot simply hand someone the Scriptures and say, “Figure it out.” Let us walk with and guide our fellow believers on the road of faith so that they can learn to walk with Christ.
Or, as Paul said to the Colossians, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:28-29).
This, my friends, is the bleach principle.
©2015 Michael Duncan
For further reading on Spiritual Leadership and Development, pick up the book From Vision to Victory, available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1496030532 in both print and e-book formats.