Ephesians 5:25-27 (NLT)
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.
The morning after the wedding, I opened my eyes to see that the world had not completely changed or become dramatically different in the third child leaving the nest. The sun was shining and the birds chirping in the crisp cool air. As I lay there contemplating the cleanup after the party, I seriously considered putting my Suburban up for sale advertising it as wedding-in-a-truck rather than tackling emptying the poor overloaded beast. With decorations, gifts and tuxedos crammed from the floorboard to the top, it was quite an overwhelming task but absolutely necessary if I was going to drive it again. The room and bathroom that our sweet daughter and her bridesmaid friends had vacated resembled a rock star’s path of destruction. I could lay there no longer as these tasks lifted me out of bed catapulting me into the day. Now for some very blessed individual’s such chaos does not bother them, sometimes I am envious. Disorder really gets under my skin. When things are out of place, I feel the immediate need to put them back and restore some kind of order. Godliness is next to cleanliness is not a specific Bible verse although many neat freaks would like to think so. But I do believe clean living is part of God’s Plan for righteousness in our life. It demonstrates holiness. So why am I so compelled to clean in the midst of chaos? I wish it was only when I encounter a mess. There is something in my being that tends to grab cleaning supplies when I come across the unexpected. When change swirls around me, I shuffle around trying to reestablish order in my life. Perhaps, the day after our sweet daughter married the one who God made for her was one of those days when I needed to reestablish order with one less bird in the nest. Or maybe it is the change that has been rising up in my heart for two or three months now. Who knows? All that I know is that it is time to clean up.
Jesus loves me. God is always good. Even in the unexpected things of life, His Unfailing Love and Kindness is pursing us although we are quite content with things the way that they are. In the chaotic times, could it be that the Lord is reorganizing our life to make room for the better things that He has for us. Jesus Christ gave His Life so that I could be holy and clean which prepares me to stand in righteousness and receive the Glorious Standard of Living prepared for me by God. This is nothing new. He planned it before I was ever created just for me. It is good with a future and hope. His Word cleanses me. It shows me the areas in my life that need to be washed under the blood and prepared for His Glory. He did this so that I could be presented before God “without spot or wrinkle or any other kind of blemish.” So that I could be “holy and without fault.” It is a wonderful plan but there is definitely some a cleanup process necessary in my life.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT)
Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
I want God’s Promises for my life. Not only is my future riding on this, but that of my children. Our son is dependent right now on God’s Hand of Healing to deliver him from cancer and all the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation that take a horrible toll on one’s body. This is the most evident in our life but there are many other promises planted in faith waiting to be harvested. Because I have promises, there will be periods of time when my life is turned upside down so that I will take the time to cleanse myself. These times show me the hidden things inside my heart that maybe do not line up with what the Lord is impressing on my spirit. Let us work together to complete holiness. Holiness is not some ridiculously impossible feat. It is not a buzz kill if you will. Holiness is simply this. Our life is like a big rumpled bed sheet spread across a mattress. Initially it is filled with ridges and wrinkles. Holiness is the process of God’s Hand’s gently spreading out the ridges, and smoothing out the wrinkles in our life until we are completely covering the Plan of God which is our reasonable service. The problem with holiness is that we do not know and understand His Plan. If we decided it was good, we would surrender to the process. Faith is the force that we hold on to in the middle of God leveling and straightening the edges of our life into alignment with His Purpose. Trust is an absolute requirement. Holiness is not a radical change to a religious lifestyle but rather full assumption of God’s Glorious Standard of Living for our life that produces His Promises and Blessings as we prosper.
Proverbs 14:4 (NLT)
Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
It is important to evaluate the order of our life. In the midst of my frenzy to clean up around here, I must decide if I am trying to restore order or renew this place for our new life. I know that some people leave their children’s room just as they left them when they grow up and move away. I have a friend who has never given away a single toy her two grown children had, she saves everything. I am the opposite. As our children have grown up and moved away, I immediately transform the space for a new use. For example, our daughter’s recently vacated room is becoming my office. Yesterday, I cleaned it from top to bottom. Vacuuming every single inch of carpet and baseboard, removing all her unwanted things she left behind, cleaning off the bed and clearing the rest of the closet, I began to think maybe I had oxen, too. The painful reality that our children grow up and move away should not create a feeling of loss but complete success. God gave us these children to raise into confident, strong and competent adults. When they step out the front door into their new life, you have successfully completed your mission as a parent. This is the plan of God in full operation but it produces a change that we are uncomfortable with. Without these changes, problems and even circumstances in our life, we would not promote change but die in complacency. When we become uncomfortable, it is human nature to move, rearrange and reassess our life. We need these things in our life to harvest what the Lord has for us that is beyond our comfort zone and outside of our order.
Philippians 2:14-16 (NLT)
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
I do not want to run the race of faith in vain and I do not want to hinder the salvation work that the Lord is doing in me. I must hold firmly to the Word of God for my life. It is tough sometimes in the storms of life and the winds of change to remember that it is the Lord blowing through our life making us holy without spot or blemish, ridge or wrinkle to be ready for every good work that He is doing in us and through us. I want to be holy. I want to be washed in the Water of His Word. I must do so without complaining or grumbling when my life is turned upside down and disordered. God is not the author of confusion and will gladly let me in on His Secret if I but only ask. My goal is to live a clean and innocent life to have all that God promised me. He does not reward good behavior but freely flows in the unhindered life of holy people. Why? God is holy. That is why we must be holy to have all that He gives!
2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NLT)
In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
My tendency to clean does not bring me closer to God. It is my desire to be holy that will. The cleaning is a compulsion that my mind uses to establish order and control when I feel that there is none. It benefits everyone in a natural sense. I must strive to take my whole life and keep it ready for God’s Use. Whatever that use may be according to His Will and not my own which means that there will be times of disorder and unexpected changes. Even if my hands begin to attempt to restore order by cleaning, if my heart remains compelled to live in agreement with God everyone will benefit from the blessing that is produced. We decide our level of service to God by our commitment to holiness. Holiness is nothing more than being dedicated to service to God. Do you want God’s Will for your life today? You must be holy. Do you want every blessing that He set forth for you to have? You must be holy. I want to be ready for the Master to use for every good work. This is how my life will prosper in His Blessings every day.
Hebrews 10:21-23 (NLT)
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Before I went to bed last night, the old Suburban was completely empty with everything in its proper place. Our daughter’s old room now my soon-to-be office is cleaner than it has been in the last ten years. I now have a guest bathroom that is not overridden with nail polish, hairspray and discarded clothes. Hallelujah! All the tuxedos returned. There is an organized stack of unused wedding supplies that will soon be going up for sale along with pristine and freshly washed and folded tablecloths for the highest bidder. Even my wedding folder on the computer is all cleaned up! But something more important is happening on the inside as the peace of God permeates every doubt that tried to make me think this would be my undoing. Rather it is His reshaping and remolding me for our next great adventure! As I step into His Presence covered by His Blood, I realize that everything is going according to His Plan. So I hold tightly without wavering to the Hope that I have been given according to His Goodness and Grace knowing that He can be trusted to do what He said that He would do!
Titus 2:14 (NLT)
He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.