Many years ago when I was newly married, my husband taught me a lesson about the dishwasher that can be applied to the Christian life. It seems that on that particular day, I had wanted to clear all of the dishes out of the sink. I filled the dishwasher to capacity and then some, cramming plates and cups in here and there. When the cycle was done, we opened the machine, and some of the dishes were still dirty. My new husband then said the words that would ring in my head for many years after. “The dishes don’t get washed simply because they are inside the dishwasher. They have to be exposed to the water in order to get clean.” This analogy applies to the Christian life in three ways.
The analogy applies with church.
It isn’t sitting on the pews Sunday after Sunday that makes us saved. Someone could, in fact, go to church every single week, even twice on Sundays, and still find themselves in hell. We are saved when we are born again by the Holy Spirit of God. After that, we go to church to receive instruction from a godly pastor and have fellowship with other believers. It’s only when we listen to the pastor’s sermon and try to apply it to our lives that we experience change. We worship with our hearts and pray, but we also take that worship and prayer with us in the car, in our homes, and wherever we go. It is only then that we get closer to God.
The analogy applies with Bible reading.
There are plenty of atheists who know the Bible well enough to mock it, and even the devil quoted scripture to Jesus when tempting Him those 40 days. Reading the Bible is important, but we have to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. We have to apply what it says to our lives. If we treat it like a textbook, taking notes of the people, places, or things, we may be able to answer Bible trivia quizzes or argue online, but that doesn’t help us get to know God any better. Reading and even memorizing the Bible is only helpful when we rightly divide it with the help of the Holy Spirit and apply it to our lives with a faith that the words are true.
The analogy applies with prayer.
It’s not enough just to pray to God by talking to the ceiling. We have to pray in spirit and in truth. That means we have to be connected to God through the relationship formed when we believed in the truth of Jesus Christ and received His Spirit. Once connected, the Bible says the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much. We have to pray with feeling, in belief that our prayers will be answered, and we have to be righteous. That just means that we live the Christian life soberly with our sins covered by the blood of Jesus through repentance.
Assembling with brethren, reading the Bible, and praying to God are all important facets of the Christian life, but none of them on their own connects us to God or guarantees our salvation. We must attend biblical churches with hearts open to instruction and take our worship with us throughout the week. We must read the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit and seek to apply it to our lives in faith. And, we must pray believing, living our lives in a habit of self-examination and repentance. It is only then that we will be exposed to the Water that washes us clean.
If you like analogies, try Message in the Moisturizer: We Can Choose Change . It is an object lesson about changing for the better. Or, try The Waves of God’s Judgement and the Child of God. In it, we can see that the closer we are to God, the more protected we will be in times of trouble.
Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.