By Karen ‘Girl’ Friday
If we would spend more time conducting surprise inspections—on our own barracks—we could measure ourselves against the standard of scripture instead of gauging by comparison.
It wasn’t a military barrack inspected by a drill sergeant, but winning the cabin inspection at camp for the cleanest barracks was a huge honor. Especially for neat freaks.
I like things in order. A place for everything and everything in its proper place. According to Karen’s standard. I am not at peace when the beds are not made, clothes and shoes are not put away, and the bathroom or kitchen is dirty. I admit, I have snubbed my nose at a few unkept houses along the way. Even my own.
During hectic seasons in my life, I contemplated hiring a maid service to clean our home. The idea never went past the contemplation stage. This housekeeper’s problem: before they came—I know myself—I would straighten up and clean.
Not wanting someone—whose job is to clean—to see my dirty floors or windows. “God help me” if they noticed the refrigerator with rotten food, or worse, sticky residue on every shelf from a sugary juice spill. A mess nobody had cleaned up. Not even the somebody who likes things clean. The prideful shame of a dirty rotten mess.
I could not let go of appearances for appearance sake.
A recommended maid service will take care of appearances in our home. They have a good measuring system in place of passing the white-glove inspection. The finger swipe across mantles, tables, and countertops that are clean will not leave a dirty smudge behind on the white glove.
Many times we tidy up the quickest way by throwing misplaced items in a drawer, closet, or spare room and close the door. And what about that messy garage? The one everything gets thrown into so there is no longer room for our vehicles. After all, a garage sale is not selling a garage, it’s selling stuff in a garage we no longer want or need.
Appearances, at first glance, may not be what they seem—just not seen.
Just not seen. Like our hearts and minds. Things we hide behind closed doors, in the garage, or tuck away in a closet or drawer where nobody will see. For appearance sake.
Messy drawers full of thoughts that are not lovely to think about. Dirty laundry piled high from gossip or shameful decisions. Garages full of hobbies that may take us away from the important. Shelves holding dust-collecting accolades of earth, leaving no room for the heavenly ones. The many cobwebs of dirt and grit—spun by self-deception—in the closets of our hearts.
In Christ, we are given a spiritual housekeeper. The Holy Spirit cleanses us with God’s truth. It’s his measuring system for cleanliness. Holiness through the spirit and scripture according to God’s standard.
If we allow the spirit to come in and do a thorough cleaning, conducting surprise inspections on the barracks of our lives, we fare better in the spirit’s white-glove test. Smudges of dirt and grime become less noticeable when the cleansing power of God’s word is changing us into holy men and women of God.
Changing me—not my neighbor—me. A “God help me” process.
You may not be a neat freak or snub your nose at your neighbor’s unkept house. What about snubbing our noses at unkept people? Those messy people with messy lives. The people who in comparison to us—for appearance sake—need to clean up.
During a nose-snubbing season of my life, I applied for membership to a very upscale, private community of nose-snubbers, The Holier-Than-Thou Country Club. They only accept tidy, un-messy members. I was blackballed by secret ballot. Another nose-snubber perhaps?
These days I belong to a more open membership club, The Messy Life Club. We have had a nose or two snubbed our way. Club members are encouraged to use our noses for our own prideful shame of a dirty rotten mess.
Don’t look at your neighbor’s mess. We have our own housekeeper over at The Messy Life Club. The Holy Spirit. He will cleanse us into all holiness. We only have to give him the inspection go-ahead.
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5
© 2014 by Karen Friday
September 4, 2014 at 8:51 am | Uncategorized