Are You Clean?

Verse 3 in John 15:1-5 caught my attention yesterday and I’ve been thinking about it ever since: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” Because it’s stuck in the middle of two seemingly unrelated thoughts I’m sure it means something… I’ll be thinking about, praying and studying  it more. Today, a related thought is the reason for this entry.

Have you ever seen a church immediately after Sunday services? Despite the presence of the Lord having been in the place, the sanctuary is typically littered: Bibles left carelessly in back pockets and under pews; the bulletin stashed in hymnals or carelessly dropped on the floor. Candy wrappers, Cheerios and water bottles view for space on floors and seats. When we first moved into the Temple there was a Lee’s Chicken next door. After service we’d find snack boxes, bags, cups and chicken bones. Amazing! When God woke me this morning the song, Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. And with thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for You was singing in my spirit. I’m sure the description I started with is not what this song is about. Yet, the Church is filled with people who accepted Christ as their personal savior but whose internal temples (mind, heart, spirit, soul) are so littered that there is barely room for the living God!

A life littered with trash is not an honorable, pure sanctuary for God. What items have you left forgotten like the Bible, disrespectfully discarded  like the bulletin or inappropriately littering your life like the Lee’s chicken? Could it be residue from sinful relationships and activities? Are there wounds from people who should have loved and protected you? Would you find other people’s stuff – their issues, opinions etc – piled in corners? Would you see songs of praise that could be vehicles for lifting burdens or the liberating Word of God hidden under piles or sitting in dusty corners – forgotten and useless?

If you’re not sure, take a look at your personal surroundings. Does your car or house look like a candidate for Clean House? When you do your laundry, can you tell the dirty from clean stacks?  Do your clothes sometimes look like you picked them up off the floor before you put them on – wrinkled, not quite clean? The ways you maintain these things are often visible evidences of what your inner spaces look like.

Are you clean?  Friends, just as light can have no fellowship with dark, clean and dirty are incongruous! God wants to live in you, His temple!! This is a wonderful day to begin the process of temple cleansing. And the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. You simply need to be willing to do the work! Be honest with yourself today. Then take a page from home organizers’ books and grab three tubs marked give-away, throw-away and clean & keep.

Give-away – issues that don’t belong to you. Stop keeping other people’s stuff, things they’ve forced on you – their opinions, standards, abuses.  It doesn’t matter whose it is: Grandma’s, Mom’s or Dad’s, your child’s, supposed-friend’s. Anything that doesn’t edify, give back!

Throw-away – every unfinished relationship, residue from your sinful past, things that no longer fit (bags of guilt, grief, heart break, old relationships, old addictions). Throw away the music, videos, books that take you to a place you don’t need to go. Throw it all away!!

Clean and keep – everything and everyone who point you to Christ and build you up. Things that make you stronger or wiser, clean!  Then put them away where you can see and use them!! Clean up your language and attitude. Clean up your physical space. Then, start singing….

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true.

And with thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for You!

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