My husband and I own a house in America, but are seldom there. When we do return home, it’s obvious we have been gone. Not so much from the outside (wonderful neighbors and church friends look after the yard), but when I walk in the door, it isn’t long before I head for the vacuum cleaner. There is a layer of dust all through the house, covering furniture and floors.
Beautifully crafted pieces of furniture do not look attractive with a layer of dust. In order to see details of a piece, dirt must be removed. Sometimes a good polish is also in order. After that is done, I remember why we bought that piece of furniture. Clean, it is very appealing. Dirty, it is not.
The house is a 1905 Queen Anne Victorian. Although there has been much restoration done (and more in the process), there are some things lacking that most modern houses have. There is no insulation in the walls or under the floors. Daylight can be seen underneath entry doors. Where pocket doors inset the wall, the ground is sometimes visible from the floor.
As a result, insects can easily find their way into our home. In our absence, spiders take up residence. There are cobwebs everywhere – especially in the corners of the twelve-foot ceilings. Getting rid of the cobwebs is quite an effort. I am short. I need to stand on a ladder just to reach them with the extension on the vacuum cleaner or a long handled broom.
I really notice those cobwebs when I first return home, but a strange thing happens if I don’t tackle them right away. I forget about them. I no longer look up in the corners of the doorways or the ceilings. I get busy with other things – office work, yard work, shopping and visiting friends and neighbors. I feel a bit like Morticia from the Addams Family. The cobwebs can stay. They are part of the decor.
It occurs to me that sin is a lot like the dust on the furniture and the spider webs in the corner. If I don’t insulate myself against things displeasing to God (by staying in the Word or talking to God about everything), I tend to get used to them. I don’t notice the irritable thoughts, the lazy attitude toward commitments I made to Him, the selfishness that rears its ugly head. I get busy with other things and neglect to clean the corners in my life.
The best remedy for cleanliness at home and in my spiritual life is to tackle the dirt immediately. A close examination of my house always requires more cleaning. A close examination of my life does the same. Maybe I get accustomed to those unattractive, sinful attitudes, but I’m certain God does not. His desire is for my life to be pure and clean. He wants to see the reflection of His Son in me.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. . . (Psalm 24:3-4a NKJV). Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10 NLT).