Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Let the Filth Hang Out

Here's a little secret about me. Or maybe not a secret at all for those who know me. I am completely happy to just do quick surface cleaning to give my house the appearance of being clean... and I'd be perfectly happy to never deep clean. Good thing my husband is more into deep cleaning.

So I really love all of the upgrades we've made to our home. We carefully selected each detail, and it's fun seeing it come together. But I've realized something. All of the things I love- my gray feather-oak floors, my white farmhouse apron sink, my stainless steel appliances, my butcher block counter top - they're all more maintenance than less-exciting options that I've had in the past.

The gray feather-oak floors show dirt easily.
The white farmhouse sink is white... need I say more?
Stainless steel appliances collect finger prints like it's their business.
Butcher block counter tops don't handle water stains well.

For some people, this would deter them from getting any of these things. I read many reviews on all of these choices before buying, so I knew what I was getting into. But in the end, I decided a little more maintenance was fine for choices that I really liked. Plus, I decided it might even be good for me because I couldn't just do a quick surface clean and hide the rest of the dirt and grime. I would have to actually clean.

I pretty much sweep every day now, which is a big deal for me!

I can't help but think of how this truth applies to my walk with the Lord. Honestly, I struggle hard with just wanting to look good to others. I hate letting my filth show. But deep inside, my heart is often ugly. I can often hide it from others. At least for a while. I can even hide it from myself. But when I do, I miss out on so much of what God wants to do in my heart for my benefit and for other's benefit. And I miss out on seeing the true beauty and glory of Christ.

There's a song called Lord, I Need You with the lyrics, "When sin runs deep, your grace is more." These lyrics really resonate with me. The more I see and feel the awful ugliness of my sin, the more I experience the abundance of God's grace. And it is an incredible grace that I love experiencing. But I only experience it when I stop believing the lie that there is anything good in me. When I stop thinking a little surface cleaning really makes me righteous in God's eyes. 

"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags." Isaiah 64:6

Only deep cleaning will make me righteous in God's eyes. And do you know what deep cleaning in our spiritual lives looks like? It means we admit that our hearts are completely filthy and beyond cleaning in our own power, and we hand these dirty hearts of ours over to the ultimate, good deep cleaner- God. And we accept what he offers us in return. He offers us His Son, Jesus Christ, Who came and gave His life as the perfect sacrifice. He was perfect. His heart wasn't filthy. And therefore, his shed blood deep cleans even the vilest of hearts.

1 John 1:9 says: "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."

Ezekiel 36:25-26 says: "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart."

I mentioned earlier that it's actually good for me to have things in my house that are more high maintenance. It keeps me accountable to actually cleaning well and often. I think it's the same with our spiritual lives. It's good for us to let our filth hang out. To put it on display. First, for our own selves. So we dare not think higher of ourselves than we ought. Because, ugh, I'm so prone to think that I actually am great in and of myself. But also, for the sakes of others. We grow so much when we're real with one another about our faults and shortcomings and sins. We also see more and more of God's glory and our need for Him when we are real about our filth. And God is so faithful to us, that when we recognize our sin and hate it, he works in our hearts to help rid us of it. On this side of heaven, we will always be dealing with these ugly hearts- ours and others' - but how encouraging to know that one day our hearts will be rid of all their gunk. 

Back in October, I had the privilege to hear Joni Eareckson Tada speak. For those who haven't heard of her, she's been a quadriplegic since age 17 when she had a diving accident. Something she said really stuck with me. She said, "When I get to heaven, the thing I'm looking forward to most isn't a new body. It's a new heart." How true! And how powerful for someone like her to say! To imagine a heart free of pride and lust and selfishness and jealousy and anger and fear is incomprehensible! But one day, it will be realty!

And for now... as I wait for that glorious future day... I pray that I won't be content with a surface-cleaned heart. I pray that God will continually deep clean my heart to make it more like His own.


  1. How did I miss this one?? So true....our hearts are so filthy. You wrote on Instagram about how God wants us to come to Him like little children and I often think of this: children don't often know enough to cover up their filth, at least not for long. It doesn't take too much for my kids to tell me what's going on, even if it's something they know they will get into trouble for. They are honest because they trust me. What a challenge to my heart. Love this!

  2. Good thoughts, Alisha. Thanks for reminding us of these truths!

  3. Good thoughts, Alisha. Thanks for reminding us of these truths!