Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Junk-free January

I’m late. This is no surprise to those who know me well as I am notoriously tardy, despite my best efforts to improve. But this time I am late for something very specific. Not a class, a program or a meeting. But a cleaning.

Most folks of a certain generation would give their homes an overhaul in both fall and spring. My great grandmother, Granny Waid, passed this tradition on to my mom who passed it on to me. I still do this, but I also do a cleaning every January. I can’t seem to help myself. It seems as innate as the migration of monarch butterflies. Maybe it’s the combination of my January birthday and the start of the new year, but I have this need to de-clutter, throw out and re-organize. I get a cheap thrill from rummaging through junk drawers and purging medicine cabinets, spice racks and closets.

But there’s more to my January makeover madness than simply weeding out unnecessary items that have accumulated during the previous twelve months. I also like to do a spiritual housecleaning. I root around in the junk drawers and closets of my heart to see if they are harboring any dustbunnies in the form of bad attitudes, bigotry, and bitterness.

In Luke 6:45, Jesus tells us: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” We can only bring good things out of our heart if we purge our hearts of  hidden sins and fill them with the good things of God.  For some, we need to eliminate bigotry and not just the racial kind. Maybe you are bigoted toward others who do not dress the way you do or speak the way you do. Or maybe those who have less money or education than you. Bigotry can take many insidious forms.

Maybe you have a bad attitude. Don’t minimize this. The Israelites got a 40-year sentence of wandering in the desert because they grumbled. God doesn’t take ingratitude lightly. Or perhaps the cobweb in your spiritual closet is bitterness. Bitterness often has its roots in jealousy, anger, or unforgiveness. Are those plaguing you? If so, sweep them out with God’s help. This is not a do-it-yourself project. Call on the Lord as David did in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Spiritual housecleaning can take time and I guarantee you it is a lot harder than cleaning your home, even including powerwashing the windows. So this year, go to God and ask Him for help to make your spirit brighter and cleaner so others might see the love of Christ in you and desire to know Him better.

Here’s to a junk-free January! Now that January is ending, here's to a junk-free year!