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Devotionals : Spring Cleaning
 
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Spring Cleaning

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. -Matthew 5:48

Sin is not an unfortunate slip or a regrettable act; it is a posture of defiance against a holy God. - Max Lucado

There's a good reason why little chores around the house never seem to get done - it's too easy to justify putting them off for just a little longer. Changing the furnace filter? That can wait another week. Cleaning out the garage? Maybe next month. It always seems the bigger, more important chores get most of the attention while the smaller ones keep moving further down the priority list. Yet, if we keep putting off the little things indefinitely, in time we'll reach a point where the cumulative neglect has turned the house into a real mess and everything is falling apart. Eventually, all the little things pile up to a point where we can ignore them no longer. When we reach that point, it's time to grit our teeth, get down to business and perform some much needed spring cleaning.

Dealing with sin in our lives is a bit like taking care of chores around the house. None of us are free from the need to battle sin; it is an ever-present, daily struggle to identify and weed out problem areas where we are not living the life Jesus intends for us. The more frequently and diligently we do this, the cleaner our spirit will be. If we neglect this task entirely, it won't take long before we are wading in filth and grime.

Most of us do an admirable job of identifying and tackling the bigger sins, even if we don't always win the fight every time. If someone has issues with abusive or violent behavior, adultery or addictions to drugs or gambling, these sins are so overwhelmingly destructive that no Christian could ignore their devastating effects for long. These issues might represent a life-long war where battles are constantly won and lost, but resources are abundant in our churches and communities, and most followers of Christ will do whatever is necessary to bring these behaviors under control.

But how are we doing with the little sins? I'm referring to the ones which keep getting put off and pushed down our chore list as we battle for control over the larger and more serious sins. We can procrastinate for a little while, but eventually the combined effect on your spiritual health of these so-called "smaller" sins can cause just as much damage as the larger ones. If we are going to keep our spirits clean and healthy, then maybe it's time for a little spring cleaning.

Little sins have two big problems - they are hard to identify and easy to justify. Few non-Christians would think twice about committing these sins and would have little remorse afterward. Not many people seem to think it's a problem to steal supplies from work, cheat on taxes, download illegal software or watch pornography. It's become old-fashioned to wait for marriage before sharing physical intimacy, and we barely notice anymore when someone tells vulgar jokes or uses our Lord's name as a curse.

Christians are called to a much higher standard, and we understand intellectually that these are things we should not be doing. However, our culture and media send strong messages about our right to selfish, materialistic and lascivious lifestyles. It is a real challenge to tune out these messages and remember to measure our actions against the standards which Jesus taught, not what society dictates. Like it or not, we exist in a culture which has drastically different values and morals than our own. It's a genuine challenge to keep our perspective.

Thankfully, there is an easy test to help us distinguish between what is acceptable behavior for Christians and what is not, regardless of what the rest of the world might think. The simple test is this - consider whether or not there is anyone to whom you would feel compelled to lie in order to prevent them from knowing about your actions. Is there anyone - your pastor, spouse, supervisor or child, whom you would be ashamed to have discover your behavior? Would you feel a strong desire to cover up what you are doing if they walked into the room? If so, then you can be certain that this behavior needs to change. This is not a perfect test since our conscience is an imperfect guide, but you will find that in the vast majority of cases, a desire to lie is a strong indicator of the presence of sin.

Now is the time to compile a list of these behaviors and get honest about what they really are - rebellion against God. Are you surprised to hear such a dramatic description applied to such common, mundane behavior that most people would excuse or condone it? That may be fine for a world which has turned it's back on God, but that is not acceptable for those who follow Christ. He instructed us to "be perfect" in all things, large and small. If we choose to willfully engage in these behaviors knowing that it is not God's will for us, what else could we call it but rebellion or defiance?

Make a commitment to start tackling that list and let the spring cleaning of your spirit begin today.
 

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Comments


I needed to hear this today. Thank you so much. God is good.
I am struggling with the daily use of heroin right now. My pastors sermon today was titled "Resting In God." In short if we follow Gods word we will be able to rest in God. Because of our salvation we were born in the Spirit; so I am not controlled by the sinful nature. 1 Peter 2:24 sayes He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sin & live to righteousness. John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you ask whatever you desire and it will be given to you. At the end of the service we had an alter call for salvation and a 2nd for for continously sinning or compromising the sin without any thought of conviction. In my case I am convicted every day that I go to get this drug and as I do it. I did not go for the alter call because I am daily convicted. Please pray for me and share with me.


Your sister in Christ,
Sheila
5/10/2009 10:38:10 PM - anonymous


Dear Shelia, My husband went thru depression after Katrina hit us hard and he started drinking daily. He started with beer, moved up to whiskey and started mixing pills, We prayed for him daily and one day he passed out on the toliet, he was still intoxicated when he woke up and he felt like he was dying, he prayed and asked God to delivery him from his addiction, God blessed him and delivered him, he went back a few times but returned to prayer and God has kept him from falling back into his addiction, It is a daily process, he feels the desire to drink daily and has to pray to pass by all the liquor stores on his way home from work. He still feels that he could have one beer and not go back to drinking. We prayed for him for a year before he was able to give it over to God, I still thank God and still pray for the daily struggle he suffers. I will pray for you too, Thru prayer all things are possible. God will Bless You! Keep knocking...God can do it for you too.
5/13/2009 12:41:09 AM - anonymous


i loved this devotional, really spoke to my heart because it's so true.
thanks, God bless
5/29/2009 5:10:55 PM - anonymous


WOW! This devotional is so powerful because it is TRUTH! I thank GOD for allowing you to share this truth with me. Because I recognize I need to do some spring cleaning with the help of JESUS CHRIST........So its really no lil or big sins they all bring forth death says THE LORD! Thank you
6/3/2009 10:38:39 AM - catina, Member of Delve into Jesus since 5/19/2008


Wow this is amazing
6/4/2009 2:26:50 PM - anonymous


i think your absolutely right, at least i am old fashion but not on my own. i get mocked and teased because of the way i act.think and speak thank GOD there are still decent people out there to stand for what is holy. tamara england
6/11/2009 4:03:52 PM - anonymous


This is good stuff-Amen! Sheila, it sounds to me like you are paralyzed.

Jesus Heals a Paralytic
17One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

Get some good friends, have them stand with you, hold you accountable, and do what ya gotta do...to stay away from heroin. It is death. Do WHATEVER you have to do. It reminds me of the simple man who walks near the house of the adulteress not realizing how vulnerable he is (Prov 5). Read this and see the parallels:

3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;

4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.

5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave. a

6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.

7 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.

8 Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,

9 lest you give your best strength to others
and your years to one who is cruel,

10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich another man's house.

11 At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.

12 You will say, "How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!

13 I would not obey my teachers
or listen to my instructors.

14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin
in the midst of the whole assembly."

The Lord says: "Keep to a path FAR from her (heroin)."

God bless you with every good thing Sheila! May this season of your life pass and may your struggle be a distant memory!!! May He grant you the victory and make you MORE than a conqueror! God bless you, God bless you, and God bless you again Sheila!

-Mike


6/19/2009 9:25:45 AM - anonymous


I feel like dust has gathered over my heart and has kept me from Jesus Christ. I now relized that I need to do some sprin cleaning for my heart. As I write this, I am also writing down little and big sins I need to work on. God Bless Everyone!
Emily
6/22/2009 10:35:47 AM - anonymous


It's amazing how things just pile up. In the two years since I got married, I feel so far away from where God wants me (let alone far away from Him). I love my husband but have allowed his personal struggles to separate me from where I need to be. The little things! I look through my day and see compromise after compromise. I have been lulled to believe this is normal. I feel like I have just woken up, looked around and wonder "how did I get here?" All of a sudden I am Alice in Wonderland.

I pray for strength and direction as I get closer to Christ and the path He wants me on. The process has been SLOW. I know that through my persistence, it will all just click. I am learning just how dependent I am. Thank you, Lord, for Your wisdom. It definitely doesn't make sense to me!
6/24/2009 3:50:24 AM - anonymous


wow I needed to read this. I have been real complacent, lazy, depressed, and procrastinating. My house is a mess along with my finances, and my job. And the thing is I know all I need to do is follow through on my job and all will be well. Why is it that the things you know you should do you just don't do untill it all blows up in your face. I need to go make my list. I am also a 12 stepper so I know all about list and taking a look at my side of the street. I need the willingness to follow through. I am hating the way I feel right now as I write this tears come to my eyes because I know I can do better if I just get up and do it. I wake up tired and worn out, I just don't have that self motivation. I wish I had someone here to push me.
7/3/2009 10:28:07 AM - anonymous


I never thought this would be me! I am a PK, and I have often helped others with these little issues. But I stand here today and I feel moraly and spiritually bankrupt! I need God so much right now!! I can't believe it! He is taking me down a path of learning to ask for forgiveness and also to learn that I have to have self-discipline in all that I do. I didn't realize I was coming down this path until I got here, and I guess that is how the Devil works. My heart yearns for God, however, I feel that I am to filthy and he won't hear me anymore, which again is another tool that Satan uses! The word also says that a just man falls 7 times, and times he gets back up again.. and that is where I find myself.. starting to get up again! This reading was so encouraging and I thank God that He lead me right to it! Thank you so much!!
7/21/2009 2:18:52 PM - NeedMercy, Member of Delve into Jesus since 7/21/2009


We automatically clean out messes in our earth home so we must also do so to our spiritual life as we only have one life and in the end, we have only have two way to go ie to Heaven or to Hell. I sure wanna to go to heaven so I always make conscious checks on self to make sure that my life is in line with God's word & purpose for me. Don't be shy to get counselling or wise advise from the elders & spiritual leaders etc when you get a little lost as they will with pleasure point you back to the right direction. Enjoy being in fellowship and grow.
10/30/2009 4:51:48 PM - SteadySheila, Member of Delve into Jesus since 10/27/2009


It is a daily battle we as true believers in Jesus the Christ face. Our flesh wants us to go in the direction of sin, sometimes to the point that our minds can become confused. Without The Word of GOD, prayer, the prayers of other believers, and faith it is impossible to Walk the path. I understand where Needmercy is coming from. We as the body need to hold up one another. The society and the world around us will not be there for us because they can't understand what we are going through. I pray that each one of us take seriously that we are a body of believers and not a body of pretenders. Let us not give so easily a victory to the devil. For he goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
5/10/2010 9:57:04 AM - DiscipleofONE, Member of Delve into Jesus since 5/10/2010




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