In this scorching heat my kids, like most, have enjoyed playing in a backyard kiddie pool. It's a figure 8 shaped double ringed blow up pool, and you bet your sweet tan lines that I'm not too proud to hop in with them. I am after all the lifeguard and the referee, and it gets pretty hot on the sidelines. ;)
We have a Little Tykes slide set up for perfect entry (for the smaller swimmers anyway) and just before they step onto the slide, I have set up a blue bucket. This blue bucket is important. It is filled with water and the kids must step into it and rise their feet off before getting back into the pool. If not, they carry in dirt, sand, and oh so many grass clippings!
It wasn't common yesterday to hear myself, my husband, or one of the kids simply shout out "blue bucket!" as a warning to whomever was about to muck things up. I started to notice something after awhile. My son (age 3) would randomly say, while still in the pool, "mom, I'd better go get the blue bucket" or "I need the blue bucket" Obviously, he is missing the real point of the blue bucket, and how it washed off the ick from when he is outside of the pool, but as I sat there, trying unsuccessfully to avoid being splashed in the face, I felt God bring a parallel to my mind.
In many ways, the blue bucket in our lives is repentance: Asking forgiveness and getting the "ick" out of our lives. I believe that when I asked God to forgive me for my sins, that He was (and still is by the way) big enough to take them all away, even the ones that I hadn't yet committed. However, that does not mean that I as a follower of Christ can live life full of rebellion without consequence either. I want to live a life that brings honor to God, and so when I see grass clippings in my life, I know that it is time to step in the blue bucket rather than have them floating all around me, and messing up the life that He wants for me.
How many Christians fail to keep on the Helmet of Salvation mentioned in Ephesians 6:17? A helmet protects your head. To wear the Helmet of Salvation means to protect your mind from the World and the doubt of one's own salvation that it can cause, which ultimately leads you to doubt everything. Think back to Satan's temptation of Eve. 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" He made her doubt the truth. "Did God really say....." Now let's look at the when he tempted Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. Matthew 4 3The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."and 6"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' " Doubt, yet again. I have known many believers who have doubted, and will admit to even doubting at times, as a young Christian myself. That makes us like my son wanting to get out of the pool to go wash off our feet to get back in the pool. I have learned the true meaning of the Helmet of Salvation though, so I never have to live in doubt again. Yes, it's hard to imagine, and our minds can't comprehend it, but God's love does in deed stretch that far. He saves lossers, and sinners. No exceptions. The beauty in the whole thing is that our gracious God probably just smiles and shakes His head at us when we waste the time thinking, "oh my silly child" just like I did with mine. He does not expect us to walk through this life without err, but He does expect us to learn as we go, and I'm sure that He hopes that we err less along the way, because that means less heartache for us.
Oh, and one side note, I caught my daughter putting only one foot into the blue bucket at times. Don't try this. Jesus paid it all, go ahead and give it all to Him.