I think most married couples have this, but my wife and I have two different perspectives when it comes to judging whether our house is clean. Before I go too much further I should say, that our house remains clean by most people’s standards, but everyone has times where they “get things clean.” For me, our house is clean when all the clutter is picked up… when the clothes are put away, the dishes are in their spots, and generally the eye line of a room is clear. My wife on the other hand is the “deep cleaner” (that sounds like a line from a commercial)… To her, things are clean when they are scrubbed, mopped, disinfected, anti-bacterialized, etc., etc. My wife and I make a good team when it comes to the household chores, because both are important… I mean you can’t disinfect a floor you can’t get to…but you certainly do want those things disinfected.
In the Christian life, we know that we are forgiven of our sins by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, and so we are free from death and damnation and all that… but a lot believers make one of two mistakes 1) they believe they are incapable of sinning or 2) they believe it doesn’t matter if they go on sinning. Both are false. 1 John 1:8-9 assures us that even Christians do sin, and Romans 6:1-2 says that we should not live by that sinful nature because we are part of Christ’s body.
So, what does that mean for our lives? It means that by faith in Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit we can begin to clean our lives. First, the clutter… the junk… the things that keep us from seeing God clearly (though all sin distorts our view) and being a good representation for Him. For that began with my language. I mean I used to curse and swear like you would not believe, but after coming to Christ I prayed that God would empower me with His Spirit to clean that up. I’m am by no means a perfect person in that way, but that was a piece of clutter that was obstructing my witness and view of Christ. For some Christians, this is where their Christian progression ends… with the obvious stuff, the public stuff… but they never get down to the nitty-gritty of asking God to disinfect the real tough stuff in the corners of our lives that no one sees. The heart that lives and dies by their respect level in in the office. The person that just can’t totally commit to church because they want to keep his/her Sunday mornings free. Someone who holds onto money in such a way that it controls his/her thoughts and actions where they can’t be generous. It’s the mouth that won’t curse in public, but still does in traffic.
Proverbs says, “as a man (or woman) thinks in his heart, so is he…” The clutter is important to clean up, but only if it makes room for God to work on the deep cleaning. If we resist, then we are not living in the freedom of the Spirit and the hope of Christ. For more read Galatians 5:16-26.