Spring cleaning: Examine yourself

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This holiday weekend I spent a lot of time Spring Cleaning the house (It is spring in South Africa before my Northern Hemisphere friends complain). At one stage it started to feel a bit Disney-esk as the squirrels ran by, whales swam in the bay and my head-banging guinea fowl visited, but unlike Snow White no one stopped by to help. I cleaned and tidied, threw out and reordered cupboards that had grown chaotic. We live in a small house so things easily become disordered: Every six months or so it seems easier just to pull everything out and start over again. I discovered food past its sell by date, stuff that had gone off and multiple half packets of pasta, flour and washing up sponges where I had bought more thinking I had run out. A few gems of forgotten sauces and tunas were discovered – but alas no hidden Jaffa Cake mines. It was a good experience, although in the process I did think a number of times ‘why did I start’. But at the end I was left with a bag of rubbish, tidy cupboards and a better idea of what we had and what we needed.

I think I need to Spring clean my life also. To sit down and take inventory of what is there, what shouldn’t be there and what is needed. Paul challenges us to do this every time we take communion:

1 Corinthians 11:28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.

We need to examine ourselves regularly to see if our sinful habits have taken over, need to be thrown out and dealt with again. We also need to check if our habits of building our faith are in good condition and challenge ourselves to acquire new habits that will help us grow. Perhaps ‘Spring Cleaning’ is the wrong word for this as it gives the impression that once a year is enough – for my cupboard once a year would be a disaster – the more regular we do this the more functional our faith will be. Sometimes we get the impression that having the Holy Spirit in us should lead to our miraculous transformation but scripture is clear that this is team-work; effort is required on our behalf:

James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

There are steps that we can make towards God – we are the ones who need to examine our lives, with the help of the Holy Spirit (the convictor) and do a spring clean. How’s your life looking at the moment? I know I needed a Spring Clean this weekend – what about you?

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