Last week I spent time doing some much needed cleaning. I had my mind set that I would clean everything that I could, but I didn’t realize how much really needed to be done. I began to notice the areas that tend to be overlooked and the small, seemingly insignificant objects that attract a terrible amount of dust. The hours passed as I noticed more areas that needed work. Sometimes I would get frustrated, or I’d initially say to myself, Well it seems clean enough. But in truth, nothing was clean enough. It wasn’t until I was scrubbing oven racks over the kitchen sink that I took the time to the listen to the Lord.
I was reflecting on the past days of cleaning and realized that I enjoyed seeing items restored to what they should be (or as close as possible). I had allowed myself to get so used to how things are that I didn’t realize their full potential. I thought their shine was bright enough, but I was wrong. Then I believe the Lord spoke a few things in my heart.
First, when I was thinking about the beauty and joy of seeing things restored, He reminded me that this is how He feels about people who are restored to Him, whether it is an unbeliever coming to Christ or a believer who is getting rid of junk in his or her life. He rejoices in our restoration! Second, there were some things I wanted to overlook cleaning because they seemed good enough, but when I took a closer look they were disgusting. There are a number of things in our own lives that we overlook because we don’t take the time to look close enough. We get used to how we live and who we are right now. We put off cleaning up until we convince ourselves that our shine is bright enough. I can’t speak for anyone else but myself, and I can honestly say that my shine can be brighter. There are things I’ve had to change and still need to change in order to be a more mature Christian. For a long time I got used to how things were, but the problem is that the longer something sits, the harder it is to clean. It is not impossible because Christ makes it possible, but it does make it more difficult to get rid of in our lives. Third, I was reminded again that Christ is the ultimate Restorer. Even when we clean something it is never as perfect as when we first bought it, but the longer we keep it clean the longer it lasts. Everything we do as Christians should result in becoming more mature in Christ. We will not be perfect until we are with the Father in heaven nor will everything be fully restored until Christ returns, but Christ has the power to renew us, to wash us clean, to scrub out the rough spots. He has become a sacrifice for our own sanctification and no matter how difficult a stain may be, He can remove it quickly and permanently.
As I stood at the sink and pondered over these things I couldn’t help but tear up. The Lord desires for us to be renewed and restored to Him for our own maturity and for His glory. It is not a punishment to get rid of things in our lives that keep us tied down to the world. In truth, it is a beautiful reward. We have Christ who makes us new. We have the opportunity and ability to be a brighter light because of Him. We have a means to escape the temptations of this life. We have the choice to be closer to the Lord by getting rid of the dirt and grime that keep us distant from Him.
May we choose to look closer at who we are and become who the Lord has made us to be.
“11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors (or ministers) and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:11-24 (NASB)