Cleaning House

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Have you ever put off doing something that you absolutely dreaded only to wish later that you had done it earlier?  Maybe it was going to see the doctor or dentist.  Perhaps it was getting your car into the mechanic in order to find out why that “check engine” light keeps coming on. How about that History paper that was assigned over a month ago and you’re just now getting started the day before it’s due? Start brewing some coffee, it’s going to be a long night!  To be honest, I’ve been guilty of all the above on multiple occasions.
  
But if there’s one “dirty” deed my wife Shelley and I have come to dread more than any other it has to be cleaning house.  And the fact that we both share this dread in common can be a scary thing.  If you were to compile a list of Top 10 Ways to Spend Our Time, cleaning house would be listed as #114.  Now don’t get me wrong, if you were to come over to our house, you wouldn’t notice too much out of the ordinary.  Things would look halfway decent…on the surface.  But when you begin to meddle by running your greasy fingers across our bookshelf, coffee table or staircase, I’m afraid we stand condemned.  When you truly examine those ceiling corners, the evidence begins to mount.  And please…if you’re going to pat down our curtains, for your own safety, wear a dust mask.  I think you’re getting the picture and I haven’t even mentioned the floors.  As I’m writing this, I’m looking up at our ceiling fans and wondering if they’ve ever been dusted.  I know it’s been at least 3 years…the amount of time we’ve lived in this house. 
 
Deep down inside all of us is a built-in “fed up” alarm.  In the case of cleaning house, I’ll admit that Shelley’s alarm tends to go off before mine.  Next thing you know we’re diving full force into the grime that’s taken 6 months to build up.  We ask ourselves, “Why didn’t we take care of this earlier?”  The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings true here.
 
In 2 Chronicles chapter 29 we read about a man named Hezekiah and his beginnings as king of Judah.  He wasted no time in cleaning house and setting the tone of his administration…
 
        “In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened
        the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them.” (v.3)
 
He then reprimanded the priests and Levites with these words…
 
        “Listen to me, you Levites!  Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of
        the Lord, the God of your ancestors.  Remove all the defiled things from
        the sanctuary.  Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in
        the sight of the Lord our God.  They abandoned the Lord and His Temple;
        they turned their backs on Him.” (v.5-6)
 
Does anyone hear a “fed up” alarm going off here?
 
When Hezekiah mentioned that ‘ancestors were unfaithful’, he was referring to his own father, Ahaz.  In Ahaz’s 16 year reign, we read a lengthy example of what not to do as a king.  2 Chronicles 28:24 gives us insight into the heart of Ahaz…
 
        “The king took the utensils from the Temple of God and broke them into
        pieces.  He shut the doors of the Lord’s Temple so that no one could 
        worship there and then set up altars to pagan gods in every corner of
        Jerusalem.”
 
This is certainly one example of the phrase ‘like father, like son’ not always being true.  Apparently, the priests and Levites who heard Hezekiah’s “pep” talk were quite motivated to take action as we read in the following passage…
 
        “These men called together their fellow Levites, and they purified
        themselves.  Then they began to purify the Temple of the Lord, just
        as the king commanded…The priests went into the sanctuary of the 
        Temple of the Lord to cleanse it…the entire task was completed in 
        16 days.” (29:15-17)
 
Did you catch that?  What Hezekiah’s father Ahaz had allowed to deteriorate over the course of 16 years, Hezekiah restored in 16 days!  Today, we have a King of kings still in the business of restoration…His name is Jesus.
 
Spiritual deterioration is no laughing matter as I can attest to personally.  One of the ways I believe our enemy, the devil, uses to clutter up our lives is through our various forms of media entertainment.  Whether it’s the content we view on television or the internet, the music on our iPods or the video games in our Xboxes, our lives can collect spiritual dust over time.  When I began to allow the Lord to do some ‘media cleansing’ in my life, I found myself asking, “Why did I wait so long?”  The longer we wait, the more time we allow altars to modern-day gods to set up shop in our hearts.  Some of these gods include lust, materialism, drug & alcohol abuse, pornography, craving for violence and even suicide.  We’re bombarded daily by wrong messages about life in every form of media we have at our fingertips.
 
If we’re truly honest with ourselves, would we identify media sources that create spiritual mildew in the corners of our lives?  How about media idols defiling you or your family that need to be evicted from your household?
 
One last thing…Just as Shelley and I have come to dread cleaning house with a passion, media cleansing can also become something many people dread, especially when we’re content to live comfortably with spiritual dirt, dust and grime.  But oh what a refreshing, light feeling when the task is completed!  By allowing Jesus to have full access to our house, the following result will take place: “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” (1 John 1:9)