I have never enjoyed cleaning our house. It’s gratifying to walk into a neat and spotless home, but that gratification is so transient! One or two days later, there’s junk on the kitchen floor (I’m a messy cook, no matter how hard I try to be otherwise), crumbs on the sofa (one who shall remain nameless likes to eat in front of the TV), fingerprints on various surfaces, etc. Frustrating!
My little trick with cleaning is to concentrate on the places people see: mainly the downstairs. I’m pretty regular with cleaning that space, in spite of the above-mentioned frustrations. But I figure, unless I’m having overnight houseguests, who cares how dusty the bedrooms are? Eventually I’ll get around to them.
It occurred to me that sometimes this is a picture of my Christian walk. The parts people see on a regular basis I am careful to keep clean and presentable. But I’m not so conscientious about the parts people don’t usually get to view. As a Christian, I have asked Jesus to take up residence in my heart. Courtesy would dictate that my entire heart be available to Him, not just certain rooms. And they should all be presentable to Him. It often requires more effort to cleanse my heart than it does to clean my physical home. Sometimes I don’t even realize the things harbored in my “rooms” that are offensive to Jesus. I need to rely on the Holy Spirit to both enlighten me regarding my offenses and to empower me to do the work needed to keep my entire “house” (the home I’ve invited Jesus to live in) constantly clean. He deserves no less.
God’s Word also enlightens me regarding the sins I sometimes don’t even think about. In Ephesians 4:25-32, Paul admonishes: “put off falsehood and speak truthfully… in your anger do not sin…work, doing something useful with [your] own hands…do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up…get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice…be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (NIV). It’s a tall order, but a goal worth accomplishing, and the gratification is everlasting.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).