In college, my dorm mates and I dreaded “white glove,” the once-a-semester deep cleaning that bordered on the ridiculous. You could get called back in for so much as a strand of hair in the shower.
As a clean freak by nature, though, I appreciated the concept, and today, pride myself in keeping a clean house. Well, I thought I was keeping a clean house, until we decided to put it up for sale. All of a sudden, there was dust on the floorboards I’d never noticed before. Dust on the light fixtures in the bathroom. Hints of rust on the washer machine. Spill stains on the kitchen cabinets. Don’t even get me started on the microwave.
In short, grossness! I’d been living in a dirty house all this time, yet from the surface level, it had looked pristine. (Don’t judge me too hard. When is the last time you cleaned your microwave?)
I started to consider how this deep cleaning concept might apply to my spiritual life. Yes, I have my daily quiet time and even my intentional quiet place. James and I love our Sunday school class and church too. But do I just look like a “clean Christian” on the outside? What happens when I take a sub-surface inventory? If you’re daring, join me as we ask some tough questions.
When was the list time God’s Word convicted me?
Oh, c’mon. I just finished reading Leviticus. Surely that counts for spiritual.
Not really. Did I actually learn something from Leviticus or just skim through it to check off that yearly reading chore? If I’m honest, the truth hits closer to the latter.
When I’m feeling spiritually dry, I’ve started asking God to show me what He has for me and give me the ears to hear it. The Bible says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit’s job is to expose areas we need to repent and grow (John 16:8). We must be willing to receive that instruction and do something with it.
Am I faithful in prayer and truly trusting God?
Last year, I shared about a book on prayer one of my friends gave me called A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller. It is by far one of the clearest and most helpful books on prayer I’ve read. One of my takeaways was to write note cards for specific people in my life, what their needs are, and how I can be praying for them.
In the last few months, some of those prayers have been incredibly answered, so much so, that I’ve found myself blinking. Wow, God! I kind of thought that request was a bit high on the “not likely” spectrum, but really? I thought you might go for something easier first, but uh, thanks!
I’m confessing this to my shame. Scripture reminds us that nothing is impossible with God. When the Angel Gabriel visited Mary, he spoke these very words:
For with God nothing will be impossible. (Luke 1:37 NKJV)
Yes, I know that truth, but I must actively believe it. And so, I echo the prayer of the mute boy’s father from Scripture, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24b NKJV)
Do I thank God whether He gives or takes away?
This one can be so hard, especially when our hopes and dreams are wrapped up in our prayers. As my husband and I have been searching for a house, there have been many closed doors. So many that the disappointment literally hurt. But after one especially disappointing “no,” I accepted it and said, “Lord, thank you for protecting us from something that wasn’t right for us.”
We have to remember that perspective when God says no or not yet. His refusals are His mercies, no matter how much they sting at the time. Later, when He does present a yes, how much sweeter it is!
Today, we’re rejoicing that God appears to have opened a new house for us (hence, the early spring cleaning on our current home). Whatever comes, though, may my heart choose to say, “Lord, blessed be your name.”
Am I accepting God’s refining work in my life?
God works in many different ways and through all types of circumstances, some more painful than others. Sometimes, the blessings also present the biggest opportunities for maturity.
My marriage to James has been the biggest blessing in my life, apart from my salvation. Seriously, God knew what He was doing and what we needed so much better than we did! When I look at my wonderful husband, I just shake my head at how much I don’t deserve him.
Still, day-to-day living presents iron-sharpening moments that reveal my own selfishness and need for God’s grace in my life. Having my spouse see me at my worst can be humbling. Instead of trying to shove those moments under the rug, I have to accept them, examine them, and ask God to help me be the woman and wife He’s called me to be.
I like how Michelle Medlock Adams describes this molding process in Platinum Faith, the book she co-authored with Bethany Jett:
We can’t rush through the process even though we’d like to get off the wheel as soon as possible because it’s uncomfortable to be shaped and molded. But as we keep God at the center of our lives, the Master Potter will continue recentering us and removing any imperfections along the way.
Do I care about God’s mission more than my comfort?
The bottom line is that God loves people (John 3:16) and “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4 NKJV). Is that our desire as well? Or are we too comfortable in our little circles to share our faith with others?
Recently, our Sunday school class did a spiritual gifts test. If you’ve never done one, I encourage you to find and take one. Even though we don’t all have the gift of evangelism, we can still share God’s love and our testimonies with others. After all, it’s the story of God at work in our lives. Our stories might just be the one the person next door needs to hear.
Yet we worry about being embarrassed, about saying the wrong thing, about being rejected. At least, I do! May God grant us boldness that we would not be timid in sharing the gospel (Romans 1:16, Philippians 1:20).
Lord, you know us better than we know ourselves. Create in us clean hearts and renew right spirits within us that our lives may be pleasing to you (Psalm 51:10).
Spring cleaning season is almost here! Take a sub-surface look at your spiritual health, too, by asking some tough questions.Tweet