If you have ever deep cleaned your house then you know how tiresome it can be. It takes days to clean every nook and cranny, and after all that work, you may see somewhere that you’ve missed.
In the middle of the chore, you may think of ways of quickly completing the task, and maybe cut corners and not do as thorough of a job. The work seems unending; your favorite show is on and your back is hurting. I’ve been there.
Recently, I tried my hand at cleaning other people’s homes. I understood the people I was cleaning for would want their house cleaner than I kept mine, which was a bit of a daunting task as I am, generally, THE Neat Freak of neat freaks.
My parents and college roommates can attest to this fact. I never lost a Barbie shoe; I can’t stand to see hair around the drain (even if it’s my own) or dried dishes that stand at the edge of the sink for days. I practically came out of the womb cleaning myself off, as I cannot remember a time when I was not like this.
Anyway, back to cleaning.
Clients expect items to be dusted around, on, and under; spotless mirrors and counter-tops; and clean around the receptacles too.
They do not specify this, but if you want to impress a client you go above and beyond what they tell you to do. If this was not enough, we were expected to do the job quickly. As I am not a professional cleaner, I tend to clean much slower in order to be completely thorough.
In the middle of my cleaning, I realized I shouldn’t stop there—I need to be as thorough cleaning up my life as I am with a house— and, perhaps, more thorough with my life. I need to be thorough cleaning up my life both on the outside and inside, and not only when it’s easy or convenient.
What does spiritual cleanliness look like?
Daily spiritual cleanliness involves sincere self-examination, prayer and reading of God’s word. Make no mistake– half-hearted efforts will lead to overlooked blemishes.
For instance, a Christian may be careful not to miss a church service, but then spread gossip. Half-hearted attempts lead to pride, and we deceive ourselves into thinking “we’re good enough.”
Jesus told the Pharisees, a religious sect, in Matthew 23:25-27 that in order for the outside of the cup and plate to be clean, we must clean the inside as well.
In fact, those who are clean only on the outside Jesus called them “greedy, blind, hypocrites, lawless, and self-indulgent.” Jesus then goes on to compare the Pharisees to white washed tombs—outwardly they are beautiful, but inside they are full of dead people.
From my observations, the people who asked for a cleaning service usually have not cleaned in months. Because of the amount of negligence, poisons such as mold form in areas like bathtubs. Dirt, like sin, creeps in gradually. It is poison to us, and, yet, we don’t see it as a threat because it is such a gradual process. If mold suddenly popped up over night, we’d most likely act immediately.
Back to the white washed tomb scenario—when covered in the dirt and grime of the world, we’re repulsive to God. There is no hiding; God knows our hearts better than we do.
Jesus loved us by not only saving us by His death on the cross, but also by becoming and living among humans. He was IN the world but not OF the world. Those little prepositional words– in and of– hold tremendous significant meaning (I know, I’m an English nerd).
If that wasn’t hard enough to grasp, wrap your mind around the fact that Jesus hung around the wrong crowd. That’s right—tax collectors, prostitutes, unbelievers, and other sinners. The major difference between them and Jesus was that Jesus never once acted like one of them.
He was often ridiculed for eating with these people—the lowest of the low. However, Jesus showed us the truest form of love by meeting us at our level (Matt 9:10-12). The most important thing to remember is that, as humans, we’re all sinners and in desperate need of cleansing, which can only be done through Jesus’s blood. We can only conquer the world through humility.
Like most hard work, deep cleaning will be discouraging at times because the devil will plant excuses in your mind. Excuses such as “everyone else does it,” “it’s just this once,” “it’s too hard,” or “I’m not perfect” are all footholds for the devil.
Like the poisonous mold clinging to corners where moisture gathers and is left untouched—what we let slip by is where sin will gradually grow. The devil’s most useful tools are distraction and discouragement, but there are counterattacks. Find an accountability partner and ask God for forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Don’t take God’s grace for granted by continuing in the sin knowing you can ask for forgiveness later. A deep cleansing of the soul is essential to keep a healthy heart and an open relationship with God. Seeking only an outward appearance of cleanliness is like becoming a whitewashed tomb —pretty on the outside, but rotten on the inside.