Hebrews 10:22 “Let us draw near to God with sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
I have a tendency to hide the things I don’t want people to see. I shut the door on my messy closets. My dresser drawers typically do not contain neatly folded shirts, but instead as many wrinkled tees as possible stuffed into one small compartment. I dust the parts of my furniture that people can see, but rarely do I get the little dust bunnies in the hard-to-reach crevices. I’m cringing writing this, because no one would guess, right? From the outside, when all the cabinets are sealed shut and the closet doors are closed, my place looks perfect and spotless, but if you tooka peek under my bed, you might think differently.
I do the same thing with God as I do with my room. I want him to clean up the “surface” areas of my life that are on display, but rarely do I allow Him to clear out those cobwebs in the hard to reach places of my heart. Cleaning can be tedious and painfully laborious, so honestly most of the time it just seems easier to ignore the buildup of dirt and grime, instead of letting God go into my heart to do a“deep clean.”
I love Psalm 51:10 which says “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” That psalm is a deep desire of mine and a constant prayer, but it is hard to actually hand over the scrub brush to God and allow himaccess to the dirtiest corners my heart that I try to keep hidden. Sometimes it is easier to justify and hide sins and shortcomings than to bring them into the light of God’s grace.
Often times we don’t want to give up a particular sin or addiction. We know that a lifestyle or habit is wrong, yet it is pleasurable or comfortable so we just keep it in the dark. We think that giving up certain sins will perhaps mean the loss of our identity, certain relationships or lifestyles, but God calls us to a richer, deeper, more fulfilling life than any patterns of our flesh can offer us. God offers us freedomfrom sin, which may be pleasurable for a time, but in the end, leads to emptiness, brokenness and an endless strivingto fill the void in our heart that only Christ can fill.
God always gives us a choice. We can choose to obey Him, or choose to ignore the buildup of filth as we gratify oursinful desires. Because of His great love and mercy for useven when we mess up, it can be a delight to say “no” to sin and “yes” to obeying the One who conquered sin and death on the cross. Phillipians 3:8 states, “I consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ.” No high or earthly pleasure can compete with the great joy, peace and comfort God offersas we allow Him to reveal our sins, get rid of the filth, and clean up the secret messes in our hearts.
A deep cleaning usually takes time and there is typically some nasty stuff to throw out and wash down the sink, but in the end, is there anything like the feeling of a freshly cleaned, spic and span home, or heart? The process can betrying, but the end result is beautiful. As we repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness we are made clean, spotless, beautiful and pure by God’s grace. What a preciouspromise we find in Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
We are called to not just let God deep clean, but also to let Him remove all the “junk” we are hoarding in our lives thatwe should not be holding onto. It feels good to get rid of the stuff that should not be taking up room in your “spiritual closet.” I recently moved and I ended up giving fourteen heaping trash bags of stuff to Goodwill. That’s a lot of junk to have lying around taking up space and I felt such relief to have it out of my house. Sometimes it feels like I am lugging around several bags of junk in my heart, but I know that that is a load I was never meant to carry because God says that His “yoke is easy and His burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
What junk are you being burdened with today? What sins are you hanging onto? Get rid of the garbage and give God space for something new. He can’t “pour new wine into old wineskins.” (Matthew 9:17) Toss out some bad habits, rearrange your priorities to align with God’s priorities, andclean up your mouth, because the bible says there should be no “obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking” coming from your lips, “but rather thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:4). Also, throw away those thoughts that you are inadequate, a failure, or unlovable because that is not what God thinks of you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and God knows every hair on your head. He knows all of your mistakes, shortcomings and sins, and yet He loves you in spite of them all. You are His precious child. God sees your ups and downs, catches all of your tears in a bottle and loves you more than you could ever imagine. Cast all your cares on Him–cast all your junk on Him, ”because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Allow God to do a little spring cleaning in your heart. For me, this involves stopping “pretending” that I have it all together and really letting God in to organize, throw out, polish and clean up. I’m learning to be more open about my “messiness” because it allows others to know that they are not the only ones who struggle with always keeping the house or their heart clean. Not everything has to be perfect to give to God. He just needs a willing heart, ready to be cleaned and transformed.
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