I cannot sleep with a fly in the room. Can't do it.
So sometimes (read: last night) I run around my bedroom at 11pm with a fly swatter, trying to rid the room of all those pesky buzzing things so that I can rest. My husband, bless his heart, just doesn't get it. He'll put the pillow over his head and say, "Just open the bedroom door and let it fly out."
Oh, no. Then it'll just buzz around in some other room of the house and resurface to bug me later. Nope, I don't want to relocate the fly. I want that thing gone. And I'm getting rid of it.
1 Peter 2, Ephesians 4, and James 1 all speak to things of which we are to RID OURSELVES:
I think sometimes we can try to justify, relocate, or repress these things, but that doesn't mean they're gone. They're just buzzing around elsewhere, waiting for a chance to resurface.
Pretending we're not all that upset when we've got a pot of anger simmering inside is to deal with a boil-over later.
Acting like we're happy for so-and-so who got the thing or the opportunity we wanted doesn't mean we've rid ourselves of envy.
Sharing hurtful words about others in the form of "prayer requests" doesn't mean we've eliminated slander from our lives.
Telling half-truths or omitting truth doesn't mean we've purged ourselves of deceit.
Writing a blog post about ridding ourselves of these things and then not living it myself? Well, that's just a bunch of hypocrisy buzzing around.
Sure, anybody can figure out a way to a temporary fix. But I doubt there will be any kind of real rest in you or in me until we RID OURSELVES of them.
Was there something on that list with which you are currently struggling? Bitterness? A form of moral filth? Picture that very thing as a fly that is buzzing around your head, keeping your soul from rest. Consider what things--what practical, applicable, day-to-day things--need to happen to make that thing get gone.
Maybe praying for patience and understanding with so-and-so is how you'll rid yourself of anger today.
Maybe skipping that movie is how you'll keep moral filth from your mind today.
Maybe praying Psalm 141:3 ("Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; Keep watch over the door of my lips") is the practical thing you'll do to rid yourself of slander today.
Whatever it is, don't just shoo it out of the room to deal with later. In His name, do whatever needs to be done--today--to get that thing gone!
Rid yourself. You won't be able to rest until you do.