Do you ever look around your home and sigh over the fact that you need to clean yet again? I certainly know that I do, and sometimes I want to cry at the state of underneath my bed!! But, have you ever wondered why we get more concerned about the state of the house than the state of our souls?
A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon cleaning. Nothing more than the usual vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, and mopping that needs to be done more often than not. But, that day as I cleaned, I felt as though the Lord was speaking to me through the dust rag, the mop, and the vacuum. Cleaning house is very similar to caring for your soul. Both get dirty and need constant maintenance — which we do not often want to do. Here is what the Lord showed me about how I should “clean” my soul the way I clean the house!
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Have a good attitude.
There may be things you’d rather do, but this is important too!! Ever sit down to read your Bible or spend time in prayer and just not want to get started? We have all been there. Your to do list is a mile long, a family member just keeps coming in and interrupting, or maybe you’re just beyond frazzled that day. Either way the quiet time just . Is. Not. Happening. You can decide whether to give up in an angry huff or you can choose to spend some time with God regardless of the state of your day. Whether you are sweeping or praying, a good attitude goes a long way.
Create a good foundation.
Certain things must be done in a certain order. Just like you wash the dishes before putting them away, you also must do the little things in faith before God gives you big things to do. You must sweep before you mop, and you must have a relationship with God before sharing with others. You can’t share the Gospel if you don’t know what the Gospel is. David is a good example of this. God entrusted David with his father’s sheep, and David took good care of them. Then, God entrusted David with a kingdom. Obviously people and sheep are different (even though God compares the two a lot!), but you get my point. Jesus also points this out in the parable of the talents. First, the master entrusted his servants with the talents (money), and then he gave them kingdoms. Build a solid foundation before going on to conquer kingdoms. Clean the floor before you sweep.
Small progress is still progress.
Even if you get only a little done, it can still produce big results. Even if I can only clean my room for ten minutes, it will still look better than if I never cleaned the room at all. I’ve become a big fan of what Tsh Oxenrider calls “partial solutions” in her book Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World. You can address an issue without having the perfect solution or answer. I may not have two hours to dust every nook and cranny, but I have thirty minutes to dust the flat surfaces. I may not have an hour to pour over God’s Word and pray for every person I know, but I can pray for my family and read a Psalm. And that is totally okay.
You may not notice a difference when you clean, but you will definitely notice when you don’t.
You may not notice when a person’s house is “average” clean or even “really” clean, but you always notice when you feel too grossed out to use the bathroom. Our souls are the same way. We may not notice how good our relationship with God is going until we fall into a sin pattern or get out of the habit of meeting with God daily. But, once the change occurs and the relationship goes south, we really notice. We get snappy and sinful, frustrated and anxious. Sometimes you don’t realize how important something is until you quit investing in it. So spend time with God. And clean your bathroom regularly.
Sometimes you have to remove things before you clean.
Sometimes things have to go before you can grow. After Christmas or a birthday, I know families that go through and purge their kids’ toys to make room for the new ones. Every now and then I declutter my purses or my knick knacks or clothes. You have to get rid of the old to make room for the new. In Colossians 3, Paul writes for people to remove the pieces of their old lives (before Christ) and to “put on” new attributes as God’s people. The key is that the old must be removed to make room for the new. Wrath has to be removed so that kindness can take its place. Our old selves must make way for our new selves as God forms and molds us.
A little elbow grease never hurt anyone.
Cleaning takes work. I don’t know anyone that says cleaning isn’t work. If someone told me that, I would wonder if they were really cleaning. The same is the case in growing with Christ. Most of the time, it is hard work. Getting rid of sin habits you’ve had your whole life is not easy! Satan and his demons want to keep us down and out of the fight between him and God; Satan works hard to put us down. That isn’t easy to fight. So feel free to dig deep and work hard to draw near to Christ. Only in heaven is everything sunshine and rainbows. Jesus himself said this world and this life would cause us a lot of trouble. Take that to heart, and don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease into your walk with Christ!
This was a long post, so I am so glad you stuck with me to the end!! I hope God shared something with you today. If something stuck out to you or if God has spoken to you while you were cleaning, please leave a comment!! I’d love to hear from you! God bless!