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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Clean House

If you were to stop by my house today, it would appear presentable.  I have spent 10 minutes this morning wiping down counter tops, filling the dishwasher and moving folded clothing from the couch to drawers.  For all appearance sake, the house looks good and I would feel okay with a short visit from you. 

Now if you decided to spend the day with me, you would see the truth of the house.  The home would appear clean until you used the bathroom, for the faucet is sticky, the towel is damp, and the dust bunnies come into view as you close the bathroom door. 

Now if you decided to spend the night with me, you would become aware of the hidden and unorganized "dirt" in my drawers, closets and bedrooms.  You are unaware of these things until you spend time here.  You would never notice the crumbs in my silverware drawer until you need a spoon for cereal in the morning. You would not see the mountain of dirty laundry until you looked for a clean towel after a shower.  I could never let you help cook dinner.  As you opened cabinets and drawers the truth would be made known. 

Thinking of this today reminded me of my personal life and my interaction with others.  We all have a first appearance to make. We want to look presentable to others.  To be honest, we want to look good.  So we tend to keep people on the surface level so they will not see our "dirt" and chaos that is so well hidden in drawers and rooms of our heart.  We learn very quickly to protect our self by hiding this dirt behind a smile, manicured nails, styled hair, and designer clothing.  We learn the "right" words to appear together and okay.  Let me say this..It is a sad and lonely way to live.  It is a difficult way to live because you are aways on guard to protect yourself and looking for other ways to make your self presentable.  Jesus said in John 10:10,
The thief does not come except to steal,
and to kill, and to destroy.
I have come that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly.

If you think about it we do this same thing with God.  We attend worship, work in the nursery, make a meal, speak an encouraging word to others but we don't let God get into the deep crevices of our life to change us.  We may have devotional time, but giving God 10 minutes of our day will never get the dust bunnies from behind the door nor remove the crumbs from the crevices in our life.  Things look good in the dark. My house looks clean in the dark. When the light is off we are not even able to see the dirt.  But if we spend time in the light, God is able to shine His truth on all the dirt, chaos, and crumbs that has been hidden for years.  He washes us with the truth of His Word to make us CLEAN.  When my house is clean, I don't mind people cooking in my kitchen.  When my house is clean, they can open a cabinet to remove a folded towel.  Nothing is hidden because God has brought it into the light and made it clean.

Friend it takes time.  It takes more than a short quick devotion with the Lord each day.  We must spend quality time in the Lord's presence with His word in prayer.  You may be scared to allow others to see the dirt but God is ever so merciful and gracious.  He already sees and loves you anyway.  Spending time with Him allows Him to clean up the dirt.  It would take me a several hours to deep clean my house, if not days.  My house will not stay clean unless I spend time on it regularly.  The silverware is clean when it is placed in the drawer, so how did the crumbs get in? Our lives are like that.  The world's way of thinking and doing life creeps in.  We must allow God to deep clean our life and we must continually spend time in His presence for Him to continue sweeping, wiping, and perfecting us. 

This deep cleaning begins with salvation.  Jesus took your sin and mine when He died on the cross.  God requires holiness and perfection from us...a life without sin.  I am not able to live a life without sin.  How about you?  I bet not, since the Bible states all our good works are as filthy rags.  All those good things you have done to make your self appear presentable are filthy rags in God's sight.  That is why Jesus had to come.  God in the flesh!  Jesus came to live the perfect sinless life.  He came to present His life as a sacrifice for us.  When Jesus was crucified on the cross, we each deserved to be hung there.  He took the punished for us.  When my kids were small they were constantly fighting with each other.  One of them was defiant and deserved a spanking.  When the time came for the proper punishment to be administered, my other child stepped in and announced-no, he would take the punishment for her.  This is a poor illustration of Christ but none the less if you are the one who deserves the spanking you would be so thankful for the one who chose to take it.  (That by the way is why I worship and praise!)

If we surrender - believe (put our trust in) Christ's saving work on the cross and we confess, (agree with God about our sin) and turn to Him away from our sin, and believe God raised Him from the dead, He will deep clean us.  He will make us new!  Then each and every day as we awake, we can come back to this place of surrender.  Spending time enjoying Him as He cleans, convicts, teaches, and loves us.  Friend when our life is clean before God, it will not matter to us what others see.  For we are confident in His love and understand we are a work in progress. 

Being confident of this very thing,
 that He who has begun a good work in you
will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Philippians 1:6

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