Let’s take a minute to purge. Purge out all of the unnecessary, wasteful, time-consuming fiddle-faddle. It’s back to basics, folks. Let us seek to gain health by avoiding additives and artificial elements. Open every cupboard and clean out the storage places. Clear out all of those nooks and crannies that hide the items we don’t want anyone to see. Beware of any toxins that may be lurking in your favorite ingredients so you can keep yourself healthy and robust. Strengthen yourself by abolishing every contaminate that interferes with a healthy home environment. Stay away from unhealthy fads. We want to promote safe and sound nutrition for our families.
I’m not talking about food or cleaning products, though.
We need spiritual clean living!
Whatever you may believe about the clean living movement, food purism, or organic products (and I hope your views are mostly sensible), there is a higher purpose to our lives. Striving to be good stewards of the good temporal gifts God has given us is a worthy occupation especially for homemakers. Nevertheless, our energies and passions should be primarily focused on pleasing God in our spiritual walk. Food and trees and animals and homes are all temporary. It’s the soul and the resurrected body that remains forever. As the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:7-8,
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
The Right Standard
One of the problems with the latest trends in health and diet and environmentalism is deciding whom to trust. Doctors and researchers say vaccines are safe and effective, but others say there’s something wrong with it all. Scientists develop new ways to increase food production and preservation and safety, but others say it’s all toxic and detrimental to your health. Whom do we believe? These are all worthy and important topics to discuss come to a conclusion about. How much more should we go to the Source of truth for eternal things?
In spiritual matters many differences between groups exist. One preacher says this, another says that. One church does this, another that. In the end it is the Word of God which must be the standard. If there is a God, (and there is) and if He has communicated to us today, then it is through the Bible. The Bible is infallibly the words that God wanted us to know. It is imperative that we know what our Bible says and use it for our objective standard.
It doesn’t matter what the latest trend is. It doesn’t matter what the cultural values are. It doesn’t matter what I think, feel, or want. It’s what the Bible says!
Once we know what God expects of us, through His Word, then we are obligated to do it. I tell my son, “Go clean your room.” and off he goes to do it. Good! He is done quickly, and I am as pleased as he is. However, with closer examination I see that my son has scooped everything off the floor and dumped it into the nearest box or container and shoved under the bed. The closet is ready to burst open because there are piles of toys jammed in there instead of neatly on the shelf where they should be. His room was clean according to my son’s standards, but it was not up to my standards. It may look clean at first glance, but nothing is really put away where it belongs, and I know that this will continue to build and cause problems down the road. Rather than simply doing it right the first time, Matthew could have avoided not only my disappointment, but also the drudgery of having to clean it all out and start over.
Do we “clean” our lives in the same way before God? We know we should not indulge in the big bad sins. It’s easy to paint a good face on your life. One might say, “I don’t lie, steal, commit adultery, or murder. I don’t do drugs or drink alcohol. I am a faithful member in my church. I am there every time the doors are open, and I serve there faithfully.” But what about those root sins? Let’s not sweep into the closet the sins of pride, selfishness, or laziness. Let us watch those words we say under our breath, and the attitudes we have inside our hearts.
God’s standard is perfection (Matt. 5:48). We must never forget that we are continually missing the mark in this life. Only when we see the Lord in heaven or He returns for us at the Rapture will we actually be made perfect. But even though it is a standard out of reach for us now, that doesn’t mean that perfection isn’t God’s standard even so.
Many strive to put into their bodies a “perfect” concoction of food and vitamins to gain optimal health. With the same vigor ought we to be seeking to eradicate spiritual toxins and any “weight that so easily besets us” (Heb 12:1).
It really is a simple concept: anything that brings us closer to God is good; anything that exalts self and slows growth is wrong. I don’t disagree with everything in the clean living, all-natural, homesteading mentality. One of its virtues is the concept of simplicity. One should weed out as many superfluous parts of life in favor of the most important things. I like that. It’s basically a lesson in priorities. If we don’t give the important things in life first place, then the less important things will fill up the time.
I’ve often day dreamed about going back to another era that is slower-paced and seemingly more simple as in my beloved Little House on the Prairie books. Progress truly is a trade-off. We trade one way of doing something for another. The challenge is to avoid leaving behind too many good things in favor of the new and improved progress. However, let us not forget that we do tend to look at the past with rose-colored glasses. At the turn of the century disease was rampant. Life-span was shorter. Infant mortality was much higher. On the homesteads and farms, church-going was many times a luxury and not a regular thing. Survival was the priority, not necessarily spiritual growth. We must not mistake good work with spiritual work. If the spiritual disciplines of your life suffer because of external, temporal pursuits, then a purging needs to take place.
Let us return to the simplicity in Christ (2 Cor. 1:12): Learning God’s Word, fellowshipping with other believers, keeping the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Table, prayer, yielding to the Holy Spirit, and developing fruit in our lives. These are the things that must be cultivated if we accomplish nothing else in this life.
Grace & Mercy
It might go without saying, but we know that God is rich in mercy toward us. While we know that God’s standard is perfection and we cannot attain it in this life, we still strive for it (Phil 3:13-15). In the mean time, there is grace and mercy. God is longsuffering toward us (Num. 14:18) and sees us as glorified creatures washed and justified through Jesus (Rom 8:30). Our Lord is ready to forgive our sins to restore our relationship with Him.
That’s good news! That bring peace and joy in this life, not just in the next. We can rest in God even here in this sinful world, knowing this is not the end.
God will cleanse us. He will purge us. His Word purifies all the gunk out of our lives if we let it. It’s our amazing super-food for the soul. That is what we need!