Thursday, June 19, 2008

House Cleaning

Growing up Saturday morning was a time or torment and terror. It was house cleaning time. Although we were allowed to watch some cartoons first, the majority of the morning was dedicated to cleaning home for the week. Each family member was responsible for the room of the house mom had assigned them that week. In my memory (I say that because I KNOW my mom will disagree when she reads this post) your assigned area was not clean until MOM said it was clean. Additionally, it would behoove you for an area to be flawless before requesting mom's inspection, because if any part of the room was not cleaned to her standards, the whole room had to be cleaned again. I actually remember (Again she'll say it never happened, but it did) having to dust the SAME ROOM four times in a row, because she found an area I had either missed or performed substandard.

This memory came to the forefront of my mind today as I was listening to a worship leader on a video read Malachi 3:1-5 because here God is cleaning house. To paraphrase the passage God says, "If I'm gonna occupy this temple, you're gonna have to get your mess out!" This made me think of Saturday house cleaning growing up. I was also impressed with how similar his cleaning method was to my own mother's.

Each week, before starting our assigned room for the week, we would have to clean our own bedroom. Everything had to be perfect. Toys had to be in their correct spot, clothes had to be hung up or put in the correct drawer, bed had to be made, all furniture had to be dusted, and the floor had to be vacuumed. After our "house" was in order, we could go on to our part of the general house cleaning.

In this passage, God notes his intent to use this model for cleaning up the temple for his occupancy. "He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them..." God could not move on to the business of cleaning and filling the whole earth as his temple until the priest's of God were refined. God had to clean his own room, or his intermediaries so the world could see his purity. Those people that stood to speak for God, had to look like Go, so that people could know the true character of God.

Now that we are the priests of God's Kingdom this applies to us. We can not wonder why there is adulterery, greed, oppression, exploitation, and abuse present in the world around us, if we have not allowed God to clean us up on the inside. Do not look to make the world look more like God. God promises his manifest glory will fill the earth! Instead allow yourself and your will to be defeated by the refiners' fire, to be scrubbed away by the launders' soap.

The admonition to lose yourself in God is an opportunity to participate in seeing the Kingdom of God inhabit the earth. Recently I was struggling with a fear of what God would ask of me next. I argued with God in my head, "If you keep taking away the things that make me me, then there is going to be nothing left of me." God's peace filled response in my spirit was, "exactly." I gave up the vice he was asking for right there.

I want to be a temple that God can fill. I can not be filled with the manifest presence of God so long as I clinging to the mess that makes my body, mind, and spirit my own. I need the Lord to take away the clutter, and remove all my secret rebellions, so that the world can see Him, filled up inside of me.

1 comment:

Randy said...

My memories are eerily similar to yours...