Cleaning my room as a kid was always an interesting event. I had a tendency to cut corners wherever I could. I was ok as long as I could give the impression that my room was clean. However, the inspection from my dad would always manage to test my abilities. Hiding things under the bed was never an option. I would quickly learn that even my closet had to be properly organized.
It was almost a routine. I would go through my first wave of cleaning, and think that I could get away with it. I would tell my father that I finished cleaning my room. He then would ask me two very revealing questions. “Do you think it’s clean?”, I would routinely nod my head in the affirmative. My father would then go in for the crushing blow, “Would I think it’s clean?” This question inevitably made me pause. I would think back to any area in my bedroom where I hid items in a way that would look chaotic if they were found. My answer to this question every time was a simple walk back to my bedroom to properly clean my room.
This story of my childhood teaches me a good deal. Picture your life as my bedroom. We work hard to make sure the initial appearance is appealing. We do everything we can to fake others out. We get so good at faking people out that we inevitably trick ourselves into thinking we are pretty clean. You believe you are a pretty good person. We got to church, tithe, help out the poor, be kind to others, etc. We do everything right. When others look at us from the outside, we appear perfectly fine.
You and I both know that if people were to look under the bed or in the closet they would find something pretty different. More than likely they would find the core of what we really are. We work so hard to make the living area floor look so clean. We hide the junk in our lives in a dark corner of the room where it cannot be seen. We proclaim ourselves to be clean. God asks us a very revealing question. Would He think we are clean?
Set aside for a moment the fact that God loves you, and wants to be with you. We focus on that quality so much that we become blinded to the truth. The truth that God cares whether or not we are clean, and that the answer to that question really matters. The answer to that question for all of us is a resounding no.
Unfortunately things get even worse from here. We cannot go back and try again like we could as a kid cleaning our real rooms. We are unable to clean ourselves in a way that God would think we are clean. I think too often we fool ourselves on an issue of understanding why Jesus died for us. We often think there is something very good in us that compelled Jesus to die for us. The simple truth is that He died for us because there was something very wrong with us. We were unable to get ourselves clean.
The really good part to all of this is that God helps us get clean. He helps us in dealing with our sin. We need to start by taking it out of the closet though. We need to get rid of this fake clean. We need to realize that we cannot try hard enough in order to appear clean to God.
So what do we do now? Empty out the closet, and pull everything out from under the bed. It is time for the real cleaning to take place. This is not the kind of cleaning that involves storage. Things are going to have to get hauled out of your life. Moving baggage can be painful and sore, but the result is something that has real value. This is what my childhood has taught me; I grew tired of faking a clean room. Have you?