Spring Cleaning

This is the time of year when most of us begin making a “Spring Cleaning” list. We observe all of the chores and odd jobs that were ignored throughout the winter and resolve to set our homes in order. Whether it is weeding, planting, organizing, or cleaning, we spend an entire Saturday improving the quality of our homes through nothing more than what we should have been doing all along. Perhaps there is a spiritual lesson here, as we consider some of the spring cleaning chores that ought to be done to our souls. It is time for each one of us to renew ourselves with the power of the Gospel and a clean heart, just as we are told to do in the scriptures:

“For you clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that outside of it may become clean also” (Matthew 23:25-26).

“Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump of dough…” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

“Set in order the things that are lacking” (Titus 1:5).

“Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).

Take Stuff To The Dump

Spring cleaning tends to reveal a rampant problem in our society:hording. We often throw worthless stuff in the storage area or garage, thinking that we just might need it again someday. Before we know it, though, we have filled that space with all manner of old appliances, clothes, odd-shaped boxes, and our life’s general flotsam. It is good to be reminded, however, of the dangers involved in keeping too much spiritual baggage, or hording old sins and attitudes that ought to be taken to the dump and disposed of permanently. After all, we are told in Ephesians 4:22 to “lay aside” our sinful practices and to “crucify the flesh with its evil practices” in Galatians 5:24. Notice a few things about the way Josiah disposes of the sinful garbage in the temple in 2 Kings 23:4-14:

It was a complete and thorough cleaning job;

No space was left unchecked;

The contraband was totally destroyed, even to the point of being burned;

Nothing was kept, there were no holdouts or compromises.

What We Need To Throw Away

While it might be important to have a garage sale with some of the things we find while cleaning, we need to realize that some things are not worth keeping:

Toxic – Like used oil or expired chemicals, we sometimes find very toxic attitudes that need to be disposed of immediately and properly. There is simply no good reason to hold on to hatred, lust, bad tempers, or grudges (Luke 17:2-3, James 3:13-18).

Outdated – As much as want to relive the glory days, if something does not fit or is simply not appropriate for our age, it needs to be disposed of. Similarly, holding on to immature attitudes, youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Timothy 6:11), and rebellion only brings heartache. The moment you become a husband, father, wife, mother, breadwinner, leader, etc., you no longer have the luxury of being immature.

Refuse – Most people have piles of old boxes, cans, bottles, papers, and other refuse items that just need to be thrown away. Spiritually, these would be unproductive, wasted moments. The sluggard, for example, has a life made up of empty boxes. Martha (Luke 10:38-42) was only concerned with the superficial things, while Jesus admonishes her to make room for the truly meaningful. Often, we waste so much space on empty boxes that our lives do not have the space for real spiritual fulfillment!