You Don't Have to Clean Yourself Up First

Moss on tree.

In my prayer times with Jesus the last few months, we’ve been walking on a beach, going back and forth along a sandy shore, sometimes walking into the sunset and sometimes walking the other direction into the sun as it’s rising in the morning hours. Sometimes we stop and talk intently about something. Sometimes we play in the waves. 

A lot of the time, he’s enjoying me enjoying him. 

But today was different.

Today it wasn’t about my relationship with him and how he’s speaking to me personally. Today it was about you and what he wants to say to you in this space. 

I have a feeling he has a lot of things he wants to say to you. 

And so this morning, I was watching him as we walked and listening hard for what he had to say. “What do you want to say, Jesus?” I asked. “I’m listening.”

I listened and I listened, occasionally looking at him as we walked, waiting expectantly for him to share what was on his mind. 

The first thing he said was, “They don’t have to clean themselves up first when they come to me.” 

I thought of Peter and James and John and Andrew, how Jesus met them at their fishing nets while they worked in the afternoon sun, doing what they always did. He met them in the midst of their normal routine. They didn’t have to clean themselves up first before they followed him. They didn’t have to wash their hands of that fishy smell and stickiness. They just followed. 

I thought of the woman caught in adultery. Who knows how much clothes she was wearing when she was dragged out of that house, caught in the act? Maybe she had only a blanket draped over her as they cast her onto the ground at Jesus’ feet and accused her of wrongdoing. But Jesus didn’t freak out. He didn’t tell her to get dressed and come back when she looked presentable. He dealt with her accusers, and then he knelt down in the dirt and talked quietly to her. 

I thought of the woman at the well. She’d had five husbands in her life and was now living with her boyfriend. She was a social pariah with no friends, and Jesus knew it. But he didn’t tell her to get her act together before she followed him. Instead, he showed himself to be who he was — the Messiah — and she ran into town telling everyone. Even in her ministry of the truth of Jesus, her life was still in a bit of a shambles. 

That wasn’t the point for Jesus. The point was his knowing them, and their knowing him.

They didn’t have to clean themselves up first. And neither do you. 

Will you let Jesus meet you right where you are right now? What does that mean for you personally?