Have you ever cleaned out a pumpkin? At this time of year, we enjoy pumpkin pies and muffins and other delicious pumpkin dishes. But before we can use that pumpkin, we must clean it out on the inside, right?

God picks us from the patch, washes off the dirt of sin, and then he has to clean us up on the inside.

He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.

The Christian life is a process that begins at that moment that Jesus picks us out of the patch and cleans us up. Then begins the process of transforming us into the likeness of Jesus. This is a process that continues throughout all our earthly days. Sometimes that process can be painful, as we are confronted with the mess on the inside of us, the yucky stuff that is clogging us up.

Just as there are lots of seeds inside a pumpkin that have to be removed, so in our hearts there are many seeds that need to be cleaned out. Paul wrote to the Colossians: You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Colossians 3:7-8). And again he wrote: Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2 Corinthians 7:1).

What seeds are still clogging up inside of you, contaminating your body and spirit? Years ago, I wrote this verse in my prayer journal, and I began to pray that God will help me clean up whatever it is that is contaminating my body and my spirit. And God has faithfully pointed many of those seeds out to me and given the grace and power to start cleaning them out.

Paul named some of these seeds that have to be cleaned out: Anger and rage must be scooped out of your heart. You know, when you allow anger to remain, it will quickly turn into bitterness, which is a deadly heart contamination. It will ruin your spirit and your physical body.

Malice and slander are seeds that we cannot afford to keep around. Regardless of how others treat you, you must not allow malice to reside in your heart toward them. It sours on you quickly and makes you miserable.

Scooping out the yucky stuff may not be pleasant, but it produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness, and that is very worthwhile and very wonderful.