I’m pretty sure my husband thinks that a clean furnace filter is the cure for about any ailment. When our kids were growing up, if we heard so much as a sneeze in our house, he would disappear into the basement and he wouldn’t come up until there was a new filter in that furnace—protecting/guarding his family. He beat himself up for weeks when our kids had Chicken Pox. That surely had to be some sort of furnace-filter-failure.
I think I remember that, back in those days, there was almost a ceremony. It was like the changing of the guard. He did everything short of delivering a “State of the Filter” address.
I also remember a time, though, when one of our kids came crying into the house with two newly skinned knees. I had to rib Richie (just had to). “Your son has boo-boos. Didn’t you change the furnace filter?”
When I was a kid, my grandma had the same kind of passion for vapo-rub. I’m telling you, if you couldn’t slime your malady away with Vicks, it was something incurable and you were encouraged to use well whatever time you had left.
Still, remembering those greasy nights conjures up warm memories (warm like eucalyptus and menthol probably) of sliding into bed—and I do mean sliding—with slime oozing out my jammies. I recall feeling like I was protected from all ails. So warm.
The word of God. I love how it warmly protects us spiritually. Warm and warmer still. With less grease. My husband was always even more diligent about protecting our family with the filter of God’s word what he was about changing the furnace filter.
We’re reminded in Psalm 119:9-11 about how His word guards and protects. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you,” (ESV).
The truths of God can act as our sin filter, purifying life. What’s more, we can have His word “stored up” in our hearts, allowing it to work, making purity a more natural way of living, as He empowers it. Memorizing His word, meditating on it, can encourage that, so that depending on Him happens about as naturally as breathing.
We can’t really see His word doing a work in our hearts any more than we can see mentho-vapors working in our physical bodies. But that doesn’t mean it’s not working. It doesn’t mean He is not working. As you are faithful to spend time in His word, the same God who knit you together—heart, lungs, and the whole body-package—will work His word in your soul for good, and will give you wisdom to understand it. There’s a paraphrase of verse 73 in that same psalm that holds a prayer I love: “With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you,” (MSG). This breathing? It involves the best spiritual filtered-air/soothing-vapors combo for our souls.
Anytime you find yourself leaning toward wrong, heading straight to God and His word is the smartest move. Of course, if you’re talking about the physical and it’s athlete’s foot or ring-around-the-collar, you’d best check your furnace filter.