“Wow! You clean up nice!”
Most of the time, we say this to someone who’s all dressed up and looking their best, especially when we’re not accustomed to seeing them that way. We let them know that they’ve made a significant, positive change, and they look good.
That’s the season we’re in now - getting cleaned up and changing for the better.
This past year, we messed ourselves up. We dirtied ourselves with our sins, and now it's time to get clean.
From Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur, we try to make positive changes and clean up our act. We amp up our efforts in the days leading up to Yom Kippur.
However, despite our best efforts, we can’t make ourselves completely clean. Only YAHUAH can make us truly clean.
On Yom Kippur, we come before YAHUAH and ask Him to cleanse us, to wash us and make us like new again.
This is the teshuva process. The first step in this process is to recognize our sins and feel sorry for them.
Sometimes, however, it’s hard to feel real remorse for our sins, to be really sorry. It may be that we don’t feel we did anything really serious; or maybe we feel that we did the best we could; or maybe, if we’re honest, we’re just not 100% ready to repent yet.
Or perhaps...we’re just not that into it for some reason. Our minds and our focus are elsewhere.
One way to get us ready to make the changes of Yom Kippur is to take a few moments and look at ourselves from the perspective of our soul, our being.
Our soul - our inner being, our core - is from YAHUAH. Our soul is pure. Our soul is clean. Our soul is the real us.
If your soul is the real you and your soul is clean and pure, then the real you is clean and pure. Your core is clean and pure and good. That’s who you really are - clean and pure and good.
Our soul - our truest self - wants to do the will of Elohim. Our soul wants to obey the voice of YAHUAH. Our soul wants to be righteous, set-apart, and good.
If we look deep inside, we see our true self, the pure soul YAHUAH created.
However, our life doesn’t reflect that person. We're not living as the pure soul YAH created us to be.
We’re not pure and clean. We’ve got dirt all over us. We’re covered head to toe in mud and soot. We’re nowhere near the clean and pure individual we were created to be.
This is how we get to the first part of teshuva - regret or remorse.
The only way we can really feel sorry is if we realize and admit that we could have done better. If YAHUAH created us good and clean and pure, then that’s what we can be in our life - good and clean and pure.
The fact that we’re not generates regret. We didn’t live up to the potential YAH placed within us. He expected more from us, and we failed Him. He wanted us to live as the person He created us to be so we can His accomplish His will in the earth, but we fell short. We messed up.
We got ourselves dirty, and more often than not, we did it on purpose. We made conscious decisions to do things we knew weren’t right and to ignore things we knew we shouldn’t. We chose to venture off the path YAHUAH set for us and went after our own desires instead. As a result, we come home filthy.
We know we could’ve done better because YAH made us clean and pure, and looking at ourselves, we know we're neither of those.
In these ten days between Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah) and Yom Kippur, we start cleaning up the mess we made. We make our best effort to start washing away the dirt and try to live clean and pure and set-apart.
But we can’t finish the job ourselves. We can’t clean ourselves properly. We make our best effort, but we can’t get rid of the stains. We can’t get to those hard to reach, deep sins. We can’t do a good enough job on our own. We can’t return ourselves to our pure clean state.
So, on Yom Kippur, we come before YAHUAH, and we ask Him to do it. We pray and plead with YAH to help us get clean again. We beg Him to forgive us for getting so dirty, to wash away all the dirt we loaded on ourselves, and to forget that any of it ever happened.
Then, we can start the new year off on the right foot. We start with our commitment to stay clean. The sins we were accustomed to doing have to go.
We have to decide to let them go before even coming to Yom Kippur. How can we ask YAH to cleanse us if we’re still holding mud balls in our fists?
We have to let go and make the commitment to stay clean.
It is possible to be good, set-apart, clean, and righteous because that’s who YAH made us to be.
If that’s how He made us, then we have to do our best to stay out of the mud. We know what makes us dirty, so we have to avoid it.
When faced with temptation, we should stop and ask ourselves:
Is this who YAH wants me to be?
Is this who I really am?
Can I be better than this?
We have the potential to be righteous. We have the potential to be set-apart. We have the potential to be perfect before YAHUAH our Elohim.
Go into Yom Kippur knowing this and understanding it to the core.
Only if you know and accept who you could have been can you truly regret the sins of the past.
Only if you know and accept who you can be can you truly cleanse yourself and make the commitment to stay clean.
What’s the point of getting clean and staying clean? To dwell with the Sovereign. We can’t enter the Sovereign’s palace with dirt all over us.
Think of the Sovereign’s palace as a realm of life. It’s a realm where we live with love, joy, peace, healing, provision, and so much more. There is no worry or stress because the Sovereign takes care of all our needs.
Yes, small problems may arise, but there’s no need to worry because the Sovereign immediately dispatches His servants to take care of it.
We can only enter this realm if we're clean.
Let us all go into Yom Kippur knowing that our life is going to change dramatically. We’re going to be cleansed and forgiven, and we’re going to come out a whole new person.
Let everyone say to you, “Wow! You clean up nice!”