Have you ever cleaned your house just because you’re expecting company? I’d like to say that my house is always immaculate and that I have never had to run around on a cleaning frenzy when guests are coming. However, I’ve had to do it, and it’s always a pretty sore reminder of what daily work has been neglected. I’ve also noticed that when I clean with the sole motivation that it be nice when guests arrive, it often goes right back to the state it was in before the company. Why? Well, just maybe because the motivation is only temporary.
Our spiritual lives can be the same way if we’re not careful. Our motivation to “clean” up our spiritual lives must develop out of our love for Christ and from our desire to be obedient to Him and His Word. God knows it all. He knows why we do what we do, and we will be measured by not only our actions, but also, or more importantly, by our motivation. For example, some people may go to church, pray, and even fast to get the approval and admiration of others. Some may give money to feed the poor, and many take care of the sick. Others concentrate on reading the Bible with the sole intent on becoming Biblical scholars. All these things are good things to do. However, if the motives for doing these things are not pure and out of our love for Christ, they are all in vain.
While we are cleaning up this year, let’s constantly check our motives. When we identify things in our lives and character that don’t line up with His Word and His will, let’s swiftly act to confess, repent, and do better. Let’s not justify any behavior, words, or deeds that are contrary to His Word. Yes, I understand that our justification comes from Him through our faith, but sin cannot be tolerated by a holy and just God.
David was a man after God’s own heart because of his ability to assess himself, identify his sins, and repent to God. In Psalm 51:2, David says, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” He recognizes that only God can cleanse him from his sin. He continues, “Behold, thou desireth truth in the inward parts.” David understood that God requires and desires true repentance by being honest with Him, others, and ourselves. God searches every man’s heart, so we must take the time to be honest with ourselves and examine our own.
David explains, “For thou desireth not sacrifice; else I would give it: thou delightest not in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:6-7). We can’t fool God. We can’t simply say we’re sorry and then excuse ourselves for doing the same thing again. True repentance turns away from the sin, and when you confess with a true repentant heart, God is faithful and just to forgive you of all unrighteousness.
Cleaning our spiritual lives up requires us to take inventory of where we are and who we are in Him. Sinful thoughts, acts, and behaviors have to go, much like we toss trash and junk in the garbage. We can’t say, “Well, God knows who I am and how much I can take.” We can’t say, “I can’t help it.” Wherever we fall short, we have a God who will never fail us. He’s given us power to overcome all the tendencies towards sinful actions and thoughts. His Word says that we will be held accountable for every idle word that proceeds out of our mouths.
I pray that none will read this as condemnation because it’s meant to encourage you to get to those secret places where sin may have crept in unaware. It has not been easy to admit some of the areas where I have clearly let Satan get a foothold, but I am grateful because I have the opportunity to repent and do better.
God has expectations from us. He created us to glorify Him and to be the salt and light of the earth. We cannot accomplish this with sin in the camp. Psalm 15:1 says, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in His heart.” Our motivation to clean house shouldn’t be out of fear but out of love and obedience. As the cleaning continues, let’s check our motives. When our motives are right, keeping things clean won’t be temporary, but a lifelong process, preparing and assisting us to bear fruit and live productive lives. Let’s walk upright, be righteous, and be truthful with ourselves and Him with a truly grateful and repentant heart.
Drop me a line on the Abiding in the Vine group page or visit www.MaRitaTeague.blogspot.com I’ve really enjoyed hearing from you all.
Love and Blessings,