Wednesday, March 25

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me.

Spiritual Spring Cleaning

The churches I have been associated with previously have not (or maybe I was not listening) put an emphasis on Lent, and I have not taken time to learn or understand exactly what it meant. I related it to something the Catholic church observed, and people gave up something important or enjoyable to them to honor God.  So, in considering my contribution to AUMC’s Lenten Devotional, I needed to do some exploring and research.  The words that stood out to me were self-examination, focus on God, prayer, and Christ’s sacrifice.

In my explorations I came across an article written by Mary Fairchild called Spiritual Spring Cleaning. This title really caught my eye, and as I read it, seemed to relate in many ways to what Lent is about. As the author stated, “…spiritual cleaning could have an eternal influence.”  Following are the seven steps Ms. Fairchild laid out for spiritual cleaning.

1.  Cleanse Your Heart – Get Spiritually Healthy

 The Bible encourages us to draw close to God and allow our hearts and bodies to be cleansed. This is the first step in our spring cleaning project. We can’t clean ourselves; instead we must draw near to God and ask Him to do the cleansing.

2.  Clean Out Your Mouth – Deep Clean Inside and Out

 Spiritual cleansing requires deep cleaning – it is housekeeping that goes beyond what others see and hear. It’s cleaning from within – inside and out. As your heart gets clean, your language should follow. This is not just referring to bad language, but also negative talk and pessimistic thoughts that contradict the Word of God and faith. This includes the challenge to stop complaining.

3.  Renew Your Mind – Take Out the Garbage

This is one of the biggest areas of struggle for most of us — removing the garbage from our minds. Garbage in equals garbage out. We must feed our minds and spirits with the Word of God, instead of the garbage of this world.

4.  Repent From Hidden Sin – Clean Out Your Spiritual Closets

Hidden sin will destroy your life, your peace, and even your health. The Bible says to confess your sin – tell someone, reach out for help. When your spiritual closets are clean, the heaviness from hidden sin will lift.

5.  Release Unforgiveness and Bitterness – Get Rid of Old Baggage

Any sin will weigh you down, but long kept unforgiveness and bitterness is like old baggage in the attic you just can’t seem to part with. You are so familiar with it, you don’t even realize how it is hindering your life.

6.  Involve Jesus in Your Daily Life – Let the Son Shine In

What God wants most from you is a relationship – friendship. He wants to be involved in the big and small moments of your life. Open your life, Let the light of God’s presence shine into every part, and you’ll have no need for a yearly spiritual cleaning.  Instead, experience daily, moment to moment refreshing of your spirit.

7.  Learn to Laugh At Yourself and Life

Some of us take life too seriously, or we take ourselves too seriously. Jesus wants you to enjoy yourself, and learn to have some fun. God made you His pleasure.

 As I read through the list, I thought each step related to self-examination, I prayed. How would I honor what God would have me do and honor Christ’s sacrifice for me?  Investing time and energy is a place to start, in order to develop and grow in the life God desires for me. It seems to me that’s what Lent is about, a renewal of faith and dedication to strive to live that life.

Linda Evans

Prayer: Dear Lord, let my heart and mind be open to you, your Words, and guidance, so I may be filled with Your grace. Amen