Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning

You know it's really spring when the weather is warm enough to start washing windows, airing rugs, scrubbing every surface, and letting the sunshine and gentle breeze seek into the farthest recesses of your house. Anyone who's ever under-taken spring cleaning knows it's a huge job and that there's something so satisfying in it. It's like you're starting over, dust and grim that has settled in during the long, hard winter is removed, things are fresh, and the air smells cleaner somehow.

A few months ago I moved into a new apartment. It wasn't exactly spring yet outside, but this move marked the beginning of a spring in my life. Typically when I move into a new place, I like to give it a thorough going-over, you know, removing the previous person's dust, and dirt. It helps me feel settled.

At first glance the apartment looked relatively clean. I noticed the places that often get neglected were a bit dusty, so I'd wipe them down, but as I did so, the angle I was working from would enlighten me to other areas that had been long-neglected. Each discovery yielded more and more disgust on my part as I realized that this apartment had not received a deep cleaning in years!

It took me days to remove the filth and as I was cleaning I sensed God speaking to me through the process. He showed me that just like it's good to undertake a spring cleaning in the the natural world, it is even more vital to take up this kind of discipline spiritually. What does a spiritual deep-clean look like? Well, in many ways, I think it's very much like in the natural start scrubbing somewhere by confessing one sin to God, you're forgiven and that area is cleaned off, but now that you're there, you see that there are other things that you didn't notice before, and pretty soon, you realize wow, there are a lot of things to confess and clean out. You realize just how filthy you are on inside! And just like the satisfaction that you get when your apartment or house is finally sparkling like new, you can feel squeaky clean on the inside once you air it all out to God. But in this case it's not because of something you've done or effort or elbow-grease on your part.  No, God's the one who moves in with power and makes you white as snow!

It's pretty amazing, you get all the benefits of a deep, spring, cleaning and all you have to do is confess, "I am dirty." and he does the rest! His word says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9) and " far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12). Wow!

And the interesting thing is, just like regular cleaning makes spring cleaning so much easier, regular confession, makes a spiritual deep-clean much easier too! Don't you love it how God uses the natural world around us to teach us spiritual truths?!

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