I am not a gifted housekeeper. In fact, I’m pretty terrible at it, and if you come to my house and expect it to be pristine, then maybe we should meet at your house. In my defense I’m a mama to three boys and, yes I know that there are plenty of boy-moms out there who have sparkling, tidy homes, but for me, the terrible housekeeper, there’s a level of dirt I’m okay with. I’m just being honest. In fact, I don’t even see it. Until eventually I do see it and then I’ll clean. This means my hard-working husband (who does see every speck of dirt and dust) has picked up my slack in this department for the last seventeen years. (Yes, those of you with the tidy, sparkling homes should most certainly pray for him.)
Now, with Spring on the horizon, I’m suddenly inundated with information about spring cleaning. There are checklists, and challenges, and how-to’s, and product advertising for hundreds of resources out there to help us spring clean our home, and it is inspiring and encouraging and maybe even achievable, but what about spring cleaning our heart? Yes, we can sweep those cobwebs out of the high corners of our ceilings, wipe the dust from the baseboards, wash windows that are normally hidden behind closed blinds, but is there any dust on our Bible, any cobwebs draped across our spirit, wispy threads of sin clinging to our heart?
As Jesus says in Matthew 23:26: You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Jesus is admonishing the Pharisees and teachers of the law for being hypocrites by following the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of the law. Sometimes don’t we do that without even realizing it? We say we are Christians. We know we aren’t perfect. We admit we are sinners. And that is all true. Only Jesus is perfect and sinless. And so we pray and we confess our sins and we ask for forgiveness and that’s all good. So good!
But there are many sins I forget about and don’t confess or repent of, sins you could argue are just human nature: my impatience as I sit in 280 traffic, the sharp reply I toss over my shoulder because I feel harassed at being interrupted, a snap judgment I make of a stranger, a feeling of discontent when I visit a friend’s new house or… By the time I’m preparing to talk to God, I’ve already forgotten those sins. I only remember I need to confess how I lost my temper or felt envious of (fill in the blank) as I scrolled through Instagram.
Are you like me, and don’t see the slivers of sin until they’re piled up like dust bunnies in the corner? Fine threads of unrepented sin can form a web around our heart. Psalm 139:23-24 reminds us: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. The Holy Spirit will help us, if only we will ask.
Spring is a time for rebirth, for a fresh start, a time for spring cleaning. But let’s not just clean our homes. Instead, let’s look to spring cleaning our hearts first. The dust on the baseboards can wait just a little longer.
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Andrea Miles is the author of two novels, Trespassers and Tree of Good & Evil. Originally from the eastern shore of Maryland, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband and homeschools their three sons. For more information, visit andreamiles.com.