Cleaning Up

Are you looking around at all the clutter – the shedding pine needles from that live tree you had to have, those unidentifiable carpet stains and the bits of candy and other unfinished treats, the pile of returns you need to take back, the collection of treasured decorations that somehow look a little gaudy now, the overflowing laundry basket…?  It’s only been a couple of days!  How did it get so bad – so quickly?  With all the company and distractions and ‘family bonding’, you simply haven’t taken time to keep up with the cleaning maintenance and now it will be much harder.  If you wait until after New Years to get started, it will only get worse – the stains will be more set and another pile of undone things will be added!  Depressing – huh?  And then January and the bills will be upon you!

          Have you ever noticed the same problem when you neglect your spiritual house for a while?  Before you begin to justify your sins of omission, as well as commission, (see?  I have often been there, too, so I ‘know the drill!) remember  what John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (I John 1:8)  But John immediately gives us the remedy for cleaning up the mess. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)  So, the sooner we confess and forsake our sins, the sooner we are pardoned and our fellowship with God is restored – our spiritual house is clean again.

           But, like the messy physical house, if we ignore our sins and harden our hearts to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we grow used to the sin and it doesn’t seem so bad.  Also, when I see someone else’s house in worse chaos than mine, it is easier to excuse my mess – spiritually, that happens, too, – the old “mote-and-beam-in-the-eye syndrome.”  Remember, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore, submit to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”  (James 4:6-10)

            I sometimes need to remind myself that, if God seems far away, He isn’t the one who moved.  Sin separates; repentance restores.  So, the admonition is to not let sins pile up but keep a short sin account – stay “confessed-up” so you stay close enough to see where He is leading.