Posted on Monday, May 18, 2020 by Pastor Val
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I'm a collector. I collect all sorts of things. However, when springtime hits, I'm often reminded of just how much useless stuff I have in my home. It's that time of year again, and my wife and I are starting to spring clean. My wife loves decluttering; I simply tolerate it. Regardless of how I feel, I know it's absolutely necessary to declutter and deep clean from time to time because it keeps our household healthy. Truth be told, like the overlooked nooks in our homes, there are areas in our spiritual lives we don't pay attention to, areas we don't usually clean. And here lies the problem: If we leave these areas untouched, our homes will become cluttered, disorganized, and probably smell a bit funky. Our spiritual lives work the same way. With constant clutter, our spiritual homes can clog up fast. Imagine if we took the time to evaluate the clutter in our lives. Think about the growth we would experience in our walk with God.
Day 1: Sweep Your Heart
“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NLT)
We begin with the closet. This is a private place in the home. Spiritually, this is your heart.
Take some time to reflect on your feelings, and consider the following question: Is what I am holding onto producing joy in my life?
If the stuff in your heart isn't producing joy, get rid of it. Pretty simple, right? Yet, we hold on to so much that weighs heavily on our hearts. Our hidden hearts can be full of bitterness, grudges, offenses, or unforgiveness. Since these are issues that cannot be seen, we tend to put them off instead of dealing with them head-on.
I will never forget holding on to an offense for over two years. A good friend of mine made a statement about me that offended me, and I held on to that offense for far too long. One day, the Lord prompted me to call my friend and speak to him about the incident.
Everything in me did not want to rehash this painful event. However, I chose to be obedient. The joy that came as a result of letting the offense go was indescribable.
That's one practical way we can cleanse our hearts. By letting go of any bitterness or offense that's been kept under wraps, we allow ourselves to walk in freedom. A second way to cleanse our hearts is to internalize God's Word. When we hide God's Word in our hearts, it affects our speech, thoughts, and actions.
Cleansing our hearts is some of the hardest work we will ever engage in. After all, heart work is hard work, but it is incredibly necessary! Sweep your heart, and experience the freedom God has for you.
- What steps can you take this week to let go of anything you've been holding on to?
- Schedule two days this week to meditate on God's Word.
Day Two: Scrub Your Blind Spots
“Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NLT)
Next up is the living room. This is the social hub of the home that is usually used for entertaining, and this is where blind spots are often revealed.
Blind spots are areas in our lives we are not aware need attention. I see this play out almost every time we have guests over. They somehow always find chips or beef jerky hidden in between the couch cushions! Notice, this only happens in the context of community.
In our spiritual lives, blind spots can include our attitude, body language, habits, or our tone of voice. To identify and understand our blind spots, we need a healthy community of people around us who will challenge, encourage, and even correct us as needed.
About three months ago, my wife invited some friends over for dinner. As we patiently waited for dessert to be served, my friend approached me and asked an interesting question: “Why do you interrupt others when they talk?” This question threw me off guard. He began sharing how he had seen this as a pattern in my life. As much as I didn't want to hear this, it was healthy for my personal growth. My friend noticed my blind spot and called it to my attention.
You see, when we engage in spiritual spring cleaning, some parts of the house need a hard scrub. Sometimes, we can't do this deep scrubbing alone. We need others to scrub with us.
We are not wired to run our race alone as Christians. We flourish in the context of community. There's a reason they call them “blind spots.” Sometimes it takes the keen eye of someone else for you to really see what you're missing. Don't be afraid of constructive criticism, the hard scrub, or the deep clean. It's how we grow.
- When was the last time you had someone bring up a blind spot in your life? How did you react?
- Who is a trusted person you can ask to point out blind spots in your life?
Day 3: Savor Self-Care
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2 (NLT)
In our family, not only do we emphasize cleaning every room of the house, but we also include our exterior in our spring-cleaning process. Now, think of your physical body. Your exterior is where self-care comes into play.
In Exodus 20:8, the Bible tells us to “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
Notice the word remember. We have a tendency to forget to take a day off. In the Bible, the Sabbath was known as a day of rest. Out of all the Bible's commands, this is the one I've struggled with the most as a pastor.
I often find myself so busy that I forget to take time to rest and intentionally do something that's life-giving. For me, playing basketball, practicing guitar, or going fishing are all activities that bring life to me. However, my calendar doesn't leave much time for fun.
See, we live in a culture where busyness is valued. However, busyness is not an indicator that we are fruitful. We can be busy and not bear any fruit in our lives. Our culture teaches us that the more active we are, the more essential we become. That is a lie. God calls us to be fruitful, not busy.
So, as we take time to clean our spiritual homes, let's not neglect our physical bodies. Take time to exercise, drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods, enjoy nature, read a book or do something that you absolutely love! The Sabbath is for your benefit, and it's an essential part of spring cleaning.
- What are three benefits of practicing self-care?
- Schedule an activity that is life-giving to you and do it this week.
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