This week I spent several hours phoning various cleaning companies in an effort to find someone who could potentially help my parents who are still living in their own home at the ages of 89 and 90. As I called around I became quite proficient at asking questions: What kind of equipment is needed? (some companies like to bring all their own equipment and products while others prefer the client to provide them). What about the cost of cleaning? What frequency is recommended? Is an initial home assessment required?
Thinking about the physical cleaning of a house this week got me off on another level. Often a house is used in literature or dream interpretation to signify our life. This lead me to wonder about house-cleaning in a spiritual context. “How am I really doing with that?” I asked myself. As a Christian I desire to live a clean and pleasing life before the Lord. What shape is my house in?
Definitely a periodic assessment is needed. In my walk with God I must evaluate where I have come from, where I am going, and how I am doing today. It’s important and encouraging to see where progress has been made in the past. It’s necessary to have a vision of where God may be calling me in the future. And it is vital to take stock of today – am I being faithful, consistent, obedient and joyful in the ordinary things of the moment?
I asked myself what equipment I require to have a clean “house”. As with a physical house cleaning I have a list: I need to read, digest and seek to apply the Word of God daily in my life. Regular times of prayer, praise and worship to the Lord are a must. Fellowship with other believers is vitally important to keep me on track and accountable. And I need to “keep short accounts” with God and with other people – that means that I must be quickly willing to say I’m sorry and ask forgiveness if I have hurt or offended someone else. I need to let go of offences too so that I am not harbouring bitterness and unforgiveness in the basement of my house. (Garbage shoved in the basement and not dealt with eventually starts to stink!).
What is the cost of spiritual housecleaning? It will definitely cost me some time and effort — most things in life worth doing will! It could also involve some financial outlay if I need to seek counselling or professional advice and help; or maybe there is some sort of financial restitution that needs to be made. Spiritual housecleaning will also cost me my pride as I learn to humble myself before God and my fellow believers in honestly sharing my struggles, failures and pain.
Housecleaning can be a messy and unpleasant task. But I have discovered that if I do it regularly and thoroughly the cost on every level is much less than if I let things pile up. I don’t ever want to be like the people I see on the TV program “Hoarders”. I can’t afford to hoard envy or anger, hurt feelings or judgements, self-pity or self-righteousness. They must be thrown out the moment I recognize them for the garbage they are.
Sounds like a lot of hard work! But I remember that Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden is light. When I walk with Jesus and obey him, whatever work there is to be done is definitely worth doing, and I know I’m not doing it on my own.
If I am diligent to stay on top of things in my house, a “deep clean” won’t be necessary very often. All that will be needed on a daily basis is some “light housekeeping” …….. then the light of Jesus will shine brightly and unobstructed through me and through my home making me truly a “lighthouse keeper”.