For many people, spring is a time for deep cleaning around the house – moving furniture that never gets moved to vacuum behind and under it, dusting in all the hidden places, and removing the clutter that has built up over time. With the budding of new life outdoors, it just seems fitting to refresh the inside as well.
As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that there may be some “deep-cleaning” that God may need to do in my heart. The Psalmist asks God to search him and know his heart, to see if there is any wicked way in him (Ps. 139:23-24). In keeping with the theme of spring cleaning, I thought of four things that I should be asking God to do in my heart on a regular basis:
As furniture gets moved and things come out of closets, dirt and clutter that have built up over time quickly become obvious. In my heart, what hidden lies may I be holding onto that need to be revealed? What sins may be buried deep inside and need to be brought to light? What thoughts need to be taken captive to the obedience of Christ? Heb. 4:12 tells us that it is the Word of God that He uses, by His Spirit, to discern the thoughts and intentions of our hearts and to lay bare our souls before Him.
God, leave no space unexamined in my heart! No matter how painful the revelation may be, bring into view, by the light of Your Word, anything that is not what it should be in my heart
Once dirt or clutter is revealed, the logical next step is to remove it. So once sin is revealed in my heart by the Word of God, what action must be taken in order to remove it? God’s Word tells me that in Christ my sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west, and I bear them no more (Ps. 103:12)! So when I confess them, He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
And yet we live between the already and the not yet, in which we still struggle with sin on a daily basis, and so we must continually put off the old nature. Eph. 4:22 says, “that in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.” And Heb. 12:1 encourages us to “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us.” So is there sin that I need to put off? Is there clutter in my heart that, though not sinful in itself, may be weighing me down and hindering me from running the race that God has set before me?
As I put off the old self, I need God to daily renew my mind with His truth and help me to put on the new self, made like Him, in righteousness and purity of the truth (Eph. 4:20-24). Rom. 12:2 tells us that the renewing of our mind results in transformation and enables us to discern God’s will. 2 Cor. 4:16 implies that this inner renewal is a work of God in our hearts as we submit to His will by faith. And, as David reminds us, it is God who creates a clean heart in us and renews a steadfast spirit in us when we humbly confess our sins to Him (Ps. 51:10).
Where have my priorities become unbalanced? Does my schedule need to be rearranged in order to reflect God’s priorities for me? What has become too important in my heart and must put back in its proper place, in order that Christ might once again have preeminence? Col. 1:17-18 tells us that “He [Christ] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Does my life bear witness that Christ indeed has first place in my heart?
Oh Lord, let this kind of examination of my heart be happening on a regular basis! Let not a day go by that I don’t ask You to search me and know my heart, to reveal anything that needs to go, to help me promptly remove it, to renew my mind through Your truth, and to help me rearrange any priorities that have become disordered! And thank You for the promise that You who began a good work in my life will be faithful to complete it until Jesus comes! (Phil. 1:6)