Truth be told, my kids hate to help clean. I have this idea that we should all happily work together to get our house clean and then enjoy each other’s company. That’s not at all what it ever looks like at my house. But there is one thing that they do seem to like to do.

They regularly clean the bathroom mirrors. Unfortunately they use things like soap and toilet paper to get the job done. Sometimes they use baby wipes. Every once in awhile they make up a concoction of toothpaste, hair gel and baking soda to use. It doesn’t matter what they use, the mirror is streaked, cloudy and near useless. I kind of figure that if you can see the streaks, it’s just confirmation that the mirror has indeed been cleaned, unlike the windows which are smeared with dog noses and breathed onto so that little lip prints can be seen. Also hard to see through.

So very often, almost as often as my kids “wash” the mirror, my memories get clouded over by stains and streaks. I can’t see them clearly.

I’m the first to admit my memory is going. At the ripe old age of 38, I have straight faced forgotten my birthday at the doctor’s office. And I meant to ask about it, see if I wasn’t suffering from some sort of early memory loss. But I forgot. I wish so much that I was kidding, but I’m not. My memories, even if I am mentally tarp as a shack, serve me poorly.

Have you ever laid in bed and beat yourself up over something that happened 25 years ago. I’m not even talking about a big thing, just a word spoken at the wrong time or some silly childish antic? I have. And why? Because when each thought is not taken captive, run through the sifting of God’s grace, it becomes fodder, or rather ammunition for the enemy to use against me.

The Spirit reminds us of what God has done.

The enemy reminds us of what we have done.

It doesn’t matter what the memory is. Given to the Lord, He shows me what he has done. Left unchecked, Satan can convince me that I, in all my glory, have done amazing things, that I don’t need God or His grace. No, he would have me believe that I can do this life on my own, and the control freak in me loves that! Left unsifted, Satan can push me headlong into the depths of despair because when I was 10 I broke another kid’s arm playing Red Rover or whatever other dirt he can find to dredge up in me to use.

Beloved, we must be aware, on guard. And for the love, we can’t leave ammunition lying around for the devil to use against us. Every thought, every memory, must be taken to the Lord, sifted by the Spirit. The same memories that Satan would use to convince us that we have no need of our Father’s love can serve to show us all the times that God’s love for us has protected us and empowered us. The same memories that hold us captive can set us free when bathed in God’s grace. Where Satan would bind us with the condemnation of our own actions, we can see the Spirit work in us, even when it is hard, even when conviction stings, we are reminded of God’s power and grace and love for us.

“…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:5