I found myself cleaning wood floors, sweeping and vacuuming the day before Christmas. The reason was not for the sake of company or the desire for a clean house. No. The reason was my dog tracked in mud and somehow managed to visit every room in our home. As I was on my knees scraping wet dirt off the kitchen tile, I saw mud tracks in the living room. I had just cleaned the living room! That is when my sense of focus aligned with the bigger truth.

I was so busy picking up the mess that I avoided the heart of the problem.

I grabbed a towel and found my dog sitting on the couch with drying mud upon her paws. Hmm… this is life, is it not? We become so busy reacting to life and living for self that we avoid seeing the root of the problem.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

This creation of a cleansed heart involves making something that wasn’t there before: something new. Becoming a new creation is more than feeling better or successfully getting rid of visible tracks of mud and mess. What and who inspires, sparks, and keeps our attention is only made new through Christ and the Holy Spirit in us. We ask Jesus to help us love Him as He has asked us to love: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind‘” (Matthew 22:37).

We might be successful in focusing on God more than ourselves and circumstances for a few hours; perhaps even a day or two. However, we will most certainly revert to our sinful, lukewarm, and judgmental ways if we do not have a constant renewing of our spirit. Drawing near to Jesus Christ is the only way to purify our hearts for the long haul. We might be strong enough to clean the floors and sweep things under the rug in our lives; however, we are not strong enough to pull the deep roots of sin and plant something new… eternity and an eternal focus.

In our continual submission to Christ, we find we regress less and less. This surrender is not the cause of our salvation; rather, the cause is the surrender by Christ Himself for us upon the cross. Yes, when we align ourselves to love… Love Himself… Christ heals us and makes us a new creation.

This creation involves giving Christ all of us: mind, body, heart and soul. Every part works together to live in all our moments, thoughts and actions. We cannot maintain a steadfast focus upon Christ unless He renews us: to keep us focused on the main thing — a relationship with Love Himself rather than circumstances, potholes, and tracks of distraction.

What in your life is currently taking your focus away from the hope of Jesus Christ?

Will you ask Him to reveal to you the root cause of your sadness, busyness, selfishness or edginess?

And will you commit to continually surrendering to Christ so that He can create in you a pure heart and a steadfast spirit?

May we focus less on the muddy tracks this week and more on the only One who can fully cleanse us.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. You can find her newly released books, “H.E.R.O. Faith” and “Bad Disciples” on Amazon. To submit feedback on SGLY, please contact news@amtrib. com.