Spring Cleaning – By Matt Miller

A couple of weeks ago we began to experience what astronomers indicate is the season of Spring. Typically, those who garden here in Oklahoma will often say something like don’t plant before Easter.
We had one of those unique meeting of the seasons not that many days ago where in the middle of our springtime weather, we saw ice, sleet, and snow. Oklahoma’s weather is interesting in that way isn’t it? With this season of spring and the changing of our weather to warm days and cool evenings, refreshing rains and the palette of color in the outdoors transforming before our eyes from dull browns to lush greens, we often choose a weekend, a week or a day for deep cleaning our spaces. We often call this cleaning our “spring cleaning”. It’s that time when we clean more than just the daily or weekly spots that we always get around to cleaning routinely. It’s when we get up on the ladder and clean off the tops of those ceiling fans, dust the top shelf and above our China-hutches. We throw all that stuff out in our closet that doesn’t fit, and some pack up their winter clothes and bring out those made for warmer weather. Whatever your spring-cleaning routine includes and looks like, may I suggest that we look to our spiritual man and do a bit of tidying up there as well?

Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of God (Jhn 3:5). As Christians, we connect that birth with baptism. Jesus specifically told Nicodemus there that one must be born of water and the Spirit. In his Epistles, Paul describes that one in Christ has become a new creature or a new man (2Co 5:17; Col 3:10-12). That new man though, Paul says comes from the death of the man of sin, our former self and our self-centered conduct. Notices that the Apostle Paul in Rom 6:3-10 lays out how baptism connects us with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Because of that spiritual birth and the relationship that we have by way of that birth, we have put the old man of sin to death and been renewed spiritually.

The Psalmist prayed for a clean heart and renewed spirit (Psa 51:10). So we should petition God for such cleansing and renewal. We know that such is granted to the child of God. In fact, the Hebrew writer tells us, [Heb 10:22 NKJV] 22 “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

That spiritual renewal should be going on in our lives day by day, but as we so easily slip into complacency, the springtime is a good time to evaluate where we are and where we are headed. Here are a few thoughts that might help us spiritually to shake off the dust and weed out the things that aren’t helpful, and maybe even get rid of that which hinders us from being better servants of God.

Are we putting on the characteristics of the new man, or have we forgotten our new identity and slid back into former ideas concerning who we are?

[Col 3:10-12 NKJV] 10 and have put on the new [man] who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave [nor] free, but Christ [is] all and in all. 12 Therefore, as [the] elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

We need to pay special attention there to verse 12, as it describes characteristics which must be at our core and demonstrated in the life that we live. As a contrast with this, consider what Paul told the Ephesians about who they shouldn’t be.

[Eph 4:18-23 NKJV] 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

As we clean our homes this spring, let us examine who and what we have let into our lives.

Clean out the bad influence for “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal 5:9).

Root out those thoughts and ideas that are weighing us down or dragging us back toward sin.

[Phl 4:8-9 NKJV] 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] lovely, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Forgive. Forgive yourself, and forgive others. This is fundamental and Jesus taught it side by side with prayer (Matt 6:12-14). We have been forgiven so much, because of our relationship with God in Christ. We need to remember that and remember that because of the debt we could not pay, we must forgive the debt of others as demonstrated in Jesus Parable of the unforgiving servant (Mat 18:21-35).

Let’s clean out our lives in this season and be renewed spiritually. Make sure that our minds aren’t being polluted by the people we are letting into our lives, and let’s take control of our minds and our thinking so that we are focused on righteousness, love, and serving God. Let’s be an influence in the lives of others for such high and noble things as we have been called and help others then see that Jesus is the only way to eternal life and true happiness.