Thursday, 21 August 2008
Time for Spring Cleaning
They call it Spring Cleaning. It's that time of year when the garden and the garage get cleaned up. Without trying we gather boxes of worthless goods and the garden develops its own undergrowth of weeds. We ask ourselves the same question every year: how did we manage to gather such a lot of rubbish! Trailer loads of stuff is carted away to the garbage dump and suddenly we seem to have a bit more space in the garage, things look a bit more organized and the garden has a fresh look about it. We even plant a few new plants to decorate and beautify the place. And then we tackle the office...our cupboards and our mail!
Life's like that. You stay busy with things and little unnoticed details creep into your life and eventually squeeze important things out of your schedule by demanding urgent attention. We tend to feel guilty about it and wonder why we allow it. But really. if we think about it honestly, none of us necessarily choose the unnoticed things.
I read a scripture in Proverbs that said, spiders are even in the palaces of kings! Think about that: how on earth did they get in? Who invited them in? Who opened the door or the crack in the wall? Did they jump on someone's clothes to carry them into the palace? Did the wind blow them in? Before you know it you have to have tall feather dusters to clean the corners of the ceiling from cobwebs!
They say that little foxes spoil the vine. The problem is that you cannot always spot the little foxes until they have caused some damage. Then you hunt them down. By the way, have you notices how the foxes are increasing in London since they banned the age old tradition of fox hunting? You see them everywhere, in the parks and in the streets, crossing the road into someone else's backyard to scavange the duts bins for some left over Macdonalds!
In the parable about the sower, Jesus explained how good soil produces the best harvest. He describes the problems with the other kinds of soils by saying the roadside allows the birds of the air to eat the seeds sown, the rocky soil has no depth and the plants wither in the heat of the sun, and thorns choke the soil that is not properly prepared for the sowing season. He goes on to describe the things he defines as thorns: being anxious about life, the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things creeping in. There we have it again, those creeping things! Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression according to King Solomon. So it is useless to try and treat depression, it is merely the fruit of all the things that make you anxious. We have to deal with the things that cause anxiety, one by one, and depression will disappear like mist before the sun!
Riches in itself cannot satisfy althoug it can make life much easier. But the love of money is the root of all evil. One cannot serve Mammon the money god and God, our Heavenly Father, at the same time. You either hate the one and love the other or vice versa. Mammon is a hard slave driver, but our Heavenly Father desires that we prosper and be in good health, even as our souls prosper. There is a balance in the divine order of things.
The most important Spring cleaning we have to do from time to time is in our thoughts and in our attitudes. Wrong thinking leads to wrong speaking and wrong actions. Paul the apostle tells us to renew our minds so that we may know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God for our lives. This we do by paying careful attention to the Word of God allowing it to address issues in our personal life that need to change - to remove the cobwebs in our hearts and minds. Things do creep in, sometimes creepy things!
Repentance is a wonderful way to Spring Clean our souls! The Greek word for repentance means to turn around one hundred and eighty degrees! About Face!- as they used to give orders in the army. (Yes, I did my stint in the army, for almost ten years, every year for about a month, in the Commando's! Just thought you might like to know!)
Asking God to forgive our sins, for Christ's sake, not because we deserve it, is a wonderful antedote for the spirit that needs Spring Cleaning! John the apostle wrote in his first epistle if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If all unrighteousness is dealt with all that is left is righteousness!
My father once picked up a Jewish man rushing to get to the synagogue.
'Why are you in such a hurry?'
'Today is an important day. It is the day of atonement. Today all our sins will be forgiven.'
My dad posed a difficult question: 'You don' t have to answer me, but what is your greatest sin?'
'It is easy to answer that: keeping my shop open on Saturdays which is the Sabbath!'
My dad thought about it and then said, 'tomorrow is Saturday. Will you open your shop again?'
The Jewish man hesitated and then raised his shoulders and opened his hands in a typical Jewish gesture: 'What can I do? Business is business!'
Spring Cleaning, comes once a year, in any race!
But it is good to be reminded that we have the opportunity to clean things out. It is fantastic to know that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that He is able to forgive them and also cleanse our consciences! What a privilege to have such a Friend! And to know Him and God who sent Him is the true definition of Eternal Life, according to Jesus' own description. To know Him is to have permanent Spring Cleaning going on in one's life! Wow!