There is a chorus our Sunday School children used to sing, “You’ve got to be plugged in, turned on, connected to the power...”
Thinking of this chorus, I recall when one of my sons was small and wanted to help me vacuum the house (somehow, he lost that desire when he got older!). I would give him one of the vacuum cleaner’s attachments, but didn’t have it connected to the vacuum cleaner. He would happily work beside me “cleaning” the stairs. Although we were both going through the same motions, only one was getting results. Being connected to the power source makes a BIG difference. Without the power of God’s Spirit in our lives, we cannot be effective Christians. We will just be going through the motions, with no results.
Then there is always that temptation to go just a little farther. The cord is stretched to the limit, but there’s that one corner you’re trying to reach! Suddenly the vacuum cleaner goes silent and you realize that the cord has been pulled from the outlet. Isn’t that how we all try to test the limits of God’s love? As we get farther and farther away from the power source, we try to reach for one more thing to satisfy, entertain, or further our earthly goals, and suddenly we find ourselves disconnected from God, the true source of our strength.
There is nothing more irritating than trying to vacuum with a loose connection. First it’s running, then it’s not! You wiggle the cord, and it starts running again, then off, then on, then off again. So it is with us when we don’t maintain a consistent spiritual connection through prayer and reading God’s Word. We become an irritating on again, off again Christian.
If the bag become too full of dirt, the vacuum cleaner becomes ineffective. If we take in too much of the corruption of this world, we will not be a very effective worker for the Kingdom of God. We may look the same and sound the same, but we are not getting the job done. We need to find a place of repentance and ask God to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Some vacuum cleaners come with a reset button. Fortunately for us, God supplies one as well: His Grace and Forgiveness.
Just as there are different attachments to use for special purposes, such as hard-to-reach spots, corners, blinds, and upholstery, God has provided spiritual tools to meet every need in our hearts and lives.
The next time you vacuum, reflect on these thoughts and assess if you are abiding in Christ, being effective, and making a difference in your world.