We are all familiar with “Better Homes and Gardens,” and “Good Housekeeping” magazines. And most everyone has seen those TV shows about hoarders.
Between the two where do you think your house might fall? Would it be stickler for clean and shiny; or unfit for habitation?
Psychologists say that a lot can be told about a person by the way they keep their homes, dress, and prioritize things in their lives.
There are those who might need help from the health department to rid their homes of pestilence, and then there is the OCD bunch. Ever hear of them? They clean continuously and over and over and cannot stand one single thing to be out of place; while the other group is so cluttered you can hardly find a place... to sit.
If a stranger were to come to your home right now for the first time what would be his impression? Would he encounter a welcome mat at the front door, and as soon as he steps inside would he have a warm and inviting feeling about being there? Would he be glad he came? Or would he encounter coolness, and the impression that he was intruding? Would he be made to feel at home or get the cold shoulder and feel out of place?
Would he be surprised at what he sees in that it does not reflect what you say about yourself on the outside? There is an old adage which says “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Where does that saying come from? No, not your mother! She just used that to make you take a bath or cleanup your room.
A lot of people think this is in the Bible – well sorta but not really. The saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” actually comes from the writings of Phineas ben Yair, a rabbi whose writings can be found in the Talmud written this way:
“The doctrines of religion are resolved into carefulness; carefulness into vigorousness; vigorousness into abstemiousness into cleanliness; cleanliness into godliness.” As you can see, in the quote, ‘cleanliness’ is literally next to ‘godliness.”
While some say it comes from this ancient Hebrew writing it is also attributed to Francis Bacon who said, “Cleanness of body is ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.”
Centuries later John Wesley said. “Slovenliness (laziness) is no part of religion. Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness.”
Other than how clean or unclean your home maybe – what else would a stranger encounter when he first enters your door. Most often the tale-a-tale odor will alert him that pets lurk about or something was cooking on the stove or cooking someone’s brain.
There are many things a stranger could learn immediately about our homes, but let’s go a little deeper and ask what if it was a Christian home?
Would there be religious objects all about perhaps a crucifix, an artist rendering of Jesus, or perhaps a Bible on the coffee table?
Could you tell immediately which sports teams the family supported? Would he be impressed with our memorabilia of rock stars, movie stars, or other celebrities? Would he be impressed by the things we collect? Would he be amazed at how we spend our money in each payday?
Would you expect the home of a Christian to be any different than one that is not? Both would probably have family photos on the tables or walls; both more than likely than not would have various gadgets and devices for entertainment; but what kind of entertainment?
Would you expect to see books by Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, Joel Osteen and other Christian authors only on their book shelves? Would you be shocked to see books, movies, and CD’s that glorified violence, murder, rape, and all sorts of debauchery?
There is another old saying, “As a man thinketh, so he is?” Well, that one is in the Bible and found Proverbs 23: 7(KJV)
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
There is another verse or two about that as well. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
On this imaginary trip by this stranger what else would he likely find underneath your roof; or underneath your bed or in you other secret hiding places? Or on your computer? Or in your heart?
What is this stranger was Jesus?
By the same token, if Jesus were to reside in your heart; what would He find there? He says. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and He with me.”
On any given day or night, if you peeked through the peephole in your front door and saw Jesus standing there, would you let Him? Would you throw open the door immediately or would you tell Him to wait until you got rid of some things lying around first? What if you took too long and He didn’t wait – and He was not there when you finally got around to opening the door?
Jesus also has a door, and He will not strive with people forever. “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Luke 13:24
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6
In the book of Matthew we find Jesus addressing true and false disciples when He says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
A couple of times a year it is tradition to do either spring or fall cleaning in our homes. These are times we throw out things that are not longer needed, clean every nook and corner to make sure there is no dirt and grime left behind.
We can stand back and enjoy a nice clean, organized home for a little while; until the junk begins to accumulate again, and the dirt gets grimier every day – so it is with the housekeeping of our hearts.
There is a difference in cleaning house and keeping house. Keeping house regularly means we never have to deep clean our house. Keeping an open heart to Christ, and His teachings mean we never have to undergo the process of “deep cleaning.” That can sometimes be painful.
In the thirteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus talks about seeking the right door. He warns of waiting too late to open the door to our hearts.
The Narrow Door
“Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!”
Today is the acceptable day of the Lord. Choose you this day who you will serve. To know more check out “The Four Spiritual Laws.”
“Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord,” as sung by “Mercy Me” and viewed by 10,482,425 people.
Read last Sunday's Dialogue: "What goes on behind closed doors?"