Last week I mentioned getting ready for family camp. What you don’t know (most of you anyway) is that I had to repair sections of my camper in front and back. From a few years of water intrusion, a strong musty smell (that you could actually taste) led to the discovery of rotten wood. It was quite a project to uncover, rip out, rebuild and reassemble in time for this week of spiritual renewal. It took a couple of months and lots of sweat to finish the job, but I was so excited that there wouldn’t be that awful stench in the air. So it was with great disappointment that I arrived at Covenant Hills Camp (google it, you won’t be disappointed!) late Sunday afternoon, unlocked the door, went in and was met with the same odor. After all that effort (and some expense), all I could think about was how to get rid of this camper and be done with it! It wasn’t until after the evening service that I was able to unpack and put away my stuff. With just a couple of items left, there was only one cabinet that hadn’t been opened yet. As soon as that door swung open, there was a blast of smell and I discovered a throw-pillow that had been hidden there for probably three years or so. Could the cause of this lingering reek be a small overlooked thing in a closed-up cupboard? Yes, after removing the furry, odor-storing article (and a 4-hour closed camper test), the smell was gone! This reminds me of the heart-felt cry of David, King of Israel and writer of Psalms chapter 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23–24 (NLT). As David knew, and I discovered, we cannot be satisfied with our own assessment if our desire is to be becoming like Jesus. If we’re serious about this quest, we need to hear from the One after whom we are seeking. Our Creator knows all the hiding places and every undiscovered, unknown compartment. Yes, we are called to regular self-examination and cleansing, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9), but that is only a starting point. There will always be a stink-storing pillow in some unknown place that needs discovery and removal. Fair warning: this will involve pain sometimes, as cherished thoughts, habits, and comforts are revealed by the Holy Spirit as having outlived their intended purpose and become gatherers of decay. Push through because there is nothing so refreshing as breathing in newly purified air!