Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. [Psalm 19:12-13]
While vacuuming one day, I noticed the vacuum container was full. Being a dutiful husband, I took on the nasty task of emptying it. Dust specks danced free as I dumped the contents in the trash. Thinking the job complete, I resumed my housework. Yet, something was still wrong—it was not cleaning as deeply as I wanted.
Upon further inspection, I noticed the fine dust that still clogged the system. To consider the cleaning job complete by emptying the main contents and continuing to vacuum was futile. I could go through the motions, yet truly clean nothing.
God’s Spirit used this setting to whisper a spiritual truth. It is easy to avoid, or ask forgiveness for, my “large” or readily recognizable sins. And yet, the “fine dust” remains and continues clogging up a deeper spiritual life.
What Does Dust Have to do with Spiritual Matters?
What does such “fine dust” represent? It represents those hidden, protected, excused, or ignored areas, actions, and mindsets. The reality is, I may have grown so accustomed to or comfortable with them that I don’t readily see them. Close friends may be able to point out such “blind spots.” However, most often such intimate scrutiny requires the searchlight of the Holy Spirit. The Psalmist recognized this need by asking God to keep him from presumptuous and hidden (even pampered) sin.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting [Psalm 139:23-24].
When I humble, surrender, and open myself before God, He reveals my “fine dust.” Then, it becomes a matter of personal repentance and willingness to change. I must willingly “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares” me [Hebrews 12:1] and allow God to dump my fine dust. This prepares me to go deeper with Him on the path to Christlikeness.
In addition to God’s ongoing searchlight and my willing submission to Him, there remains my desire to honor Him in all I say and do. May my daily prayer and heart’s desire echo, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” [Psalm 19:14].