Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cleaning House

I spent yesterday under the question; do I come to God because I love Him? There are a million reasons to come to Him. One reason could be that it is a habit left over from another time in life, one could be fear of - what if quiet time didn’t happen, or one could be that it is on my daily task list. The legalist could be obeying the commandment, “Thou shalt have a quiet time”. There are times we go through when the constancy of the act is the important thing, not the motive. This is not that time for me.

My desire is to come to Him because I love Him. I want to express my love by creating space for Him. He can fill this space with whatever He sees fit. Some days He leads me to scripture, some days repentance, some days to song and others to prayer. He leads me to lots of questions. I get most things from Him in questions. I always know that these come from the Spirit because, believe me, I would never challenge myself in those ways. I am content to leave most of it in the closet and keep singing.

I read a book once, called Authentic Beauty. It is a great read by Leslie Ludy. She gave a visual on creating space for God that goes something like this. She said imagine that it is your wedding day. Your new husband has you in his arms as he carries you to the front door of your house. You are all a dither with anticipation for the most romantic moment of your life. He turns the door knob and opens the door. You are thinking PARADISE, and you see his face drop. You look to see your home consumed in trash. It is covering every piece of furniture and there not even a navigable trail through the room. The odor of rotting garbage almost knocks you down. This is the state of many hearts. If it makes you feel better, I am sure that this visual can come in mildly trashed.

Our hearts are so much more deceptive than we give them credit for, Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse— who can understand it?” God does. Mostly, we desire perfect communion with God, without the work. We have to adjust our thinking to making the work part of the communion. Part of creating space for God to be present and work in our lives is taking out the trash. We want to have a place for holiness in our lives. Think of it in terms of a clean house; btw, you can get creative and think of any kind of house that you want, mine is big.

So imagine, this, you, in your perfect house, and Jesus. Just quietly follow along after Him. Note the way that He brings peace to the halls of your home as He walks through with mercy and love. There is gentleness in the way that He desires to help you pick up this space. He points to the next box of memories, unrealized goals, hurts and fears; and he says, “It is time to throw this one out, don’t you think?” You see the corners of His mouth turn up because He is proud that you picked it up. You hand it to Him and He says, “That’s my girl”. You are so sure in that moment that you know the Savior of the world that there is no fear, no guilt, and no questions. Then the box just disappears. You continue to walk with Him (I am usually crying by now). You start to remember Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me”. And, see, you made a place for the two of you to sit down together.

I have misunderstood this most of my life. I thought that there would be condemnation and guilt in this act of “cleaning house”. I attached guilt to acts of confession and forgiveness; but instead, with each box that we hand over He brings lightness, clarity to our hearts and our minds…a clear conscience. 1 Timothy 3:9, “they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.”

Father, thank you for coming to us as the destroyer of sin. Thank you for making that real in our lives by Your constant guidance toward confession and forgiveness. Give us the strength to offer You our garbage today.

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