I’m a bit of a clean-freak. I’m not necessarily a germaphobe, but I do like things to be clean, simple and organized. I didn’t used to be, but I’ve also grown into being a comfortable minimalist. We just have soooooo much stuff and clutter. We have a tendency to replace that which doesn’t need to be replaced just because “we need a change”…wardrobes, furnishings, decor, cars, houses, etc. Now I’m not talking about things that become obsolete, dysfunctional, broken or “dated”. Sometimes, you just need a faster, lighter, more efficient whatchamacallit. I once knew a lady who shopped at antique stores and craft fairs, carefully selecting the most beautiful decor in her home that matched her country taste and then she’d replace it all every 4 or 5 years just because she was tired of it…and she had invested a lot of time and money in collecting those things. I’d just shake my head…I don’t get it. But many of us do it with something in our lives…we replace perfectly good appliances simply because we want a stainless steel finish instead of our white, black or almond appliances. Remember the pea green and mustard yellow appliances? Who still has one of those?
Speaking of appliances…have you noticed our culture’s obsession with things that don’t show dirt? When we’re replacing things in our homes, one of the most marketable features is “it hides dirt well” — whether it’s flooring, woodwork, paint, furniture, bedding, countertops, cabinets, appliances, etc. Again, I scratch my head…I don’t get it. Why do you want to HIDE dirt? I’d rather see it so I can clean it…get rid of it. I don’t want a countertop that hides dirt; I want a CLEAN countertop. If there’s dirt there, there’s also germs. Same with my refrigerator – I don’t want to hide all the little fingerprints. With all those little fingerprints comes a lot of little germs. Why would I not want the dirt, the grime, the germs to be seen so they can be removed? I don’t want my belongings to “look clean” – I want them to BE CLEAN. So goes my life.
I don’t want my belongings to “look clean” – I want them to BE CLEAN.Tweet
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” 1 John 1:9 says, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Psalm 24 says, “And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. …”
How often do I try to hide the dirt in my life? I try to behave and talk in a way that distracts from the sinful motives and actions in my heart and mind. I busy myself with “christian” activity and conversation to portray an external demeanor that would deflect any deeper view into my motives, my behaviors or my conversations.
And when a brother or sister in Christ dares to lovingly point out that my behaviors and attitudes conflict with the Scriptures that I cherish or that my self-centric motives or that my lack of loving response toward others is contrary to the ways of Jesus and His Spirit who lives in me, how do I respond? Do I look for a more camouflaged surface that better conceals the unholy, unrighteous, selfish and evil or do I thank the one who loved me enough to shine the light on it? Do I say that I desire covenant and accountability in relationships and then accuse the same of being judgmental? Do I defend, deflect and blame by pointing out their own offenses and say “who are you to judge me?”
You see…as a follower of Jesus who has been clothed in HIS righteousness, I should want God’s Spirit to change me, to refine me, to make me holy. That requires a surface that exposes the dirt, not one that conceals it. It requires Light. “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.” (John 8:12) Those who walk in fellowship with Him long for the Light that exposes the things that break our fellowship with Him, the things that offend the character of God. Followers of Jesus long for the Light of Jesus through His Spirit and through other brothers and sisters who walk in the Light with us. One who has been transformed by God’s Holy Spirit longs for a lifestyle, conversations, relationships that bring Light and exposure to all of the filth from which we’ve been redeemed so that it can be removed and doesn’t create a dark contamination between us and The Light.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:5-10
Sooooo…if a follower of Jesus longs for relationships that shed light on darkness and dirt, what is the difference between being accountable and being judgmental?
We’ll unpack that one next time.
–so others may hear…AND live!