A Different Definition of Clean

Playroomphoto © 2008 Kajsa Bergman Fällén | more info (via: Wylio)

“Is your room clean?”

My daughter answered my question with an enthusiastic, “Yes, mam.” I smiled and responded that perhaps we should go take a look at her room together. It only took one look to realize we had different definitions of the word clean.

Indeed, all of her stuffed animals were off of the floor. No clothes were carelessly flung here, there, and yonder. And, yes, even the bed was semi-neatly made. So imagine her surprise when I actually had an issue with the tiny scraps of paper and broken bits of toys and crayons all over her bedroom floor. And apparently me not counting shoving toys up under an overturned bucket as cleaning was also quite the puzzlement.

Needless to say, I felt there was still some work to be done.

As we worked together to finish up her room, I could not help but think of how I am so often like my daughter when it comes to my spiritual life. More times than I would care to admit, God and I have different definitions of clean.

Sure, I repent for the big stuff, for the obvious things, for the sins it’s easy to fess up to. I may even look at the lives of others out in the world, foolishly compare mine and think, “Hey, I’m not so bad after all. My life is pretty clean.”

But the truth of the matter is, His definition of clean varies greatly from mine. In 1 Peter 1:15-16 we read, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (NKJ) That means no sin. Not a one. No tiny scraps littered about. No sin tucked away where others can’t see it. No. Sin.

You may be thinking, “That sounds too harsh, too hard, too demanding!” But God isn’t asking us to clean up our hearts and lives on our own. He knows we can’t. That’s exactly why while we were still sinners, He sent His Son to die and pay for our sins. (see Romans 5:8) His love said, “I will clean that mess up for you.”

Of course, just because I am not the one actually doing the cleaning doesn’t mean I can be all lazy about how I live my life. My love for Him and my gratitude for all He has done for me should stir me to daily do my best to live a life pleasing unto Him.

And I should continually be asking Him, “Father, is my heart clean?” I need God to take a look at my heart with me, just like my daughter needs me to help her take a look at her room. I need Him to show me the things I think are okay that really aren’t, the things I am simply excusing, and the things I am downright just trying to hide.

I need Him to change my definition of clean.

11 Responses to A Different Definition of Clean
  1. Missy Lee
    May 30, 2011 | 4:09 pm

    Such conviction going on here. Great post. I’m so glad He comes to help me clean up too.

    • Kimberly
      May 31, 2011 | 6:07 pm

      Thanks so much for coming by and commenting, sweet friend! 🙂

  2. Amy Boyd
    May 30, 2011 | 10:31 pm

    OUCH !!!! My toes hurt after reading this. I pray that His definition of clean becomes my definition more and more each day.

    • Kimberly
      May 31, 2011 | 6:08 pm

      🙂 My toes hurt writing it!!! (funny…that almost makes it sound like I typed with my toes.) 🙂

  3. Barbie
    May 30, 2011 | 11:24 pm

    I felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit as I read this post. It’s so true that sometimes I hid my stuff, unwilling to clean it up, because I think it’s not that bad. Oh that He would change my heart and make me clean!

    • Kimberly
      May 31, 2011 | 6:08 pm

      I am pretty sure there are some buckets in my life like the bucket in my daughter’s room that I need to let Him turn over and clean up!

  4. Leif Kehrwald
    May 31, 2011 | 10:34 am

    Thank you for this thoughtful reflection. I don’t think it is too much to expect to come totally “clean” with our lives before God. Perhaps the greatest gift that God has given, and modeled over and over by Jesus in the Gospels, is forgiveness. And it’s a gift we must claim over and over again, for just as your daughter’s room will need cleaning again tomorrow, so too will each of need to come clean, yet again, before God.

    • Kimberly
      May 31, 2011 | 6:09 pm

      You are so right…His forgiveness is a gift that is available to us each and every day! And one I need to be sure, as you said, that I claim over and over. His love is AMAZING! 🙂

  5. Rachel Bearn
    May 31, 2011 | 8:13 pm

    Great post, Kimberly! So convicting too!

    • Kimberly
      June 1, 2011 | 5:53 am

      Thanks, Rachel. 🙂 He whispers to my heart, and I just write it down. 🙂

  6. Carol
    June 6, 2011 | 8:19 am

    Great post!! I have this same issue with my kids. They tell me their room is clean and I beg to differ. Great illustration. I’m going to remember this one!