Sara and I tackled the kitchen cupboards this week and did a deep cleaning – pulling everything out, scrubbing everything down, and doing a lot of sorting and rearranging. As Sara threw away several jars of stale herbs, she smiled at me and announced, “This is really cathartic.” I agreed. When we were done, it felt wonderful to reassemble the now clean and tidy shelves.

But when we were done and the cupboard doors were closed again, there was no sign of the work we’d devoted to the task. Still, we knew that behind those closed doors, there was now order, efficiency, and even a little sparkle. The casual observer wouldn’t see a change, but we did.

The process led me to think about the deep cleaning we need to do (on a far more regular basis) to be proper followers of the Lord. Surface shininess isn’t what’s important. What counts to the Lord, and for the Lord, is the upkeep of our soul. Are our truest thoughts in order with His Word? Are our deepest desires aligned with what He desires for us?

If our inner house is in order, our outward behavior reflects that as our love of the Lord flows naturally from our souls into our words, thoughts, and actions. If our inner house is in chaos, the chaos interferes with our reaching out to God and to others. We cannot hide our inner turmoil from Him, and others see it even when we convince ourselves no one sees it.

It may seem overwhelming to tackle this task, but we must not neglect it. Evil delights in chaos and disorder. God rejoices in truth and beauty. Let us push past the surface and embrace the work to be done. Let scrub away sin and fear. Let us rearrange our priorities. Let us line up our willingness to love the Lord and love each other, so we are ready to serve Him with sparkling joy.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
Matthew 23:25-26