For my part, I am much more of straightener than a cleaner. By this I mean that my usual practice is more to straighten the house than to clean it. Very often, I do this last thing in the morning before I leave for the day. This too was instilled in me by my father, who insisted that my sisters and I do this when we were growing up.
To be sure, my wife helps in the daily straightening; and occasionally, I myself help in the weekly cleaning. But all of this combined means that our home gets straightened at least once a day, and cleaned thoroughly at least once a week.
Obviously, with the addition of grandchildren, our home often needs straightening more than once a day. And sometime, it also needs cleaning more than once a week. Even then, however, there are times when we need a more thorough cleaning.
Recently, my wife became dissatisfied at the degree of cleanliness in our carpet. While we have hardwood floors, the area where the grandchildren play the most is carpeted. She had repeatedly applied carpet cleaning agents to remove certain spots and stains; but she decided that this was not sufficient to get the job done. And then she called in the professionals.
Three days later, a virtual miracle had unfolded. Our carpet had been so thoroughly cleaned by the professionals that it actually looked about two shades lighter. It not only looked clean, it felt clean, and to be honest, it even smelled clean.
As I beheld the miracle, I could not help but think about just how much we had been deluding ourselves that we had kept our carpet clean on our own. In truth, all that running of the sweeper, all that vacuuming, all that spot remover, and all that elbow grease had done little more than placate our conscience as we fooled ourselves into thinking that we had sufficiently removed all the dirt and stain from our carpet.
Call it the preacher in me, but I soon saw the parallel between having a dirty carpet and having a dirty soul. My wife and I once had brand new beautifully clean carpet installed in our home. But in short order, the wear and tear of daily life turned this once spotless floor covering into a dirty and tarnished eyesore.
In like manner, our beautifully clean souls emerged from their freshly created state in Genesis chapter 1 only to be besotted by the blight of sin in Genesis chapter 3! Thereafter, men and women put forth enormous efforts over untold generations trying to clean and restore their precious souls to their former state. But alas, their efforts all came up short!
At best, they (and we) deluded ourselves into thinking that we had somehow succeeded in removing the terrible stain of sin. But the truth is, it remained.
And for this reason, an expert came to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. That expert was none other than the One and Only Son of God, Jesus Christ. As the Bible tells us (in the First New Testament Epistle of John, chapter 1, verse 7), the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies us from all sin!
How clean are you? How clean is your soul? Is it tarnished? Is it stained with the terrible guilt of sin? Has it doggedly remained in such a state despite your repeated attempts to clean it all up? Then I have good news for you. The testimony of the Psalmist can be yours as well (Psalm 51:1-15):
1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Few things feel as good to the feet as walking on fresh clean carpet! But nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that one’s soul has been washed clean! Despite his terrible sin with Bathsheba, King David knew this feeling. Despite the terrible sins I have committed, I know this feeling. And despite your own shortcomings, I trust you know it as well!
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: http://biblehub.com/1_john/1-7.htm and