Mark's Minute

Mar 23 2017

A while back, I talked about word combinations that produced emotional reactions. Here’s one that makes me want to crawl into a hole: spring cleaning. Where am I going with this? Click through to see.

It may come as a surprise to you given our recent weather, but I can verify that it is, in fact, spring. And, even if you’re reluctant to admit it, spring always makes us think of fresh starts, which is what drives us inexorably toward cleaning. It’s weird, but true.

I love the idea of a clean start as much as the next guy. I always feel better after I spend some time cleaning up; it’s the starting that’s the trick. 

For example, I need to sift through the clothes in my closet and do something to tame the unruly mess that’s in there right now. I know that when I’m done, I’ll feel a lot better and I’ll have done something that makes a tangible difference, but dang is that ever not sufficient motivation to actually start.

What’s worse is that I know it didn’t have to get this bad. Why didn’t I just get rid of the old stuff months ago when it became clear I wouldn’t wear it again? I don’t know. I’m a completely irrational person. And now that the task is so monumental, the idea of starting is a bit discouraging. Maybe it would be better not to try and succeed as opposed to doing something and failing.

And what’s even worse is that I know that it’s entirely possible to do it because my wife just did the same thing in her closet. I saw the work she put in; I saw the process she went through; I see now the effect that getting to the finish line has had on her. But I still don’t want to do it.

I’m not sure where you land on the spectrum—some of you are probably cringing at the description I just gave (mom, I’m looking at you), but I suspect that I’m not alone.

Here’s where I’m going with all this. Spring cleaning isn’t just something we do in the physical world. I think that there’s merit in doing a bit of spiritual spring cleaning as well.

I know, it sounds cheesy, and it’s hard for me to write that sentence, but stick with me.

The truth is that our lives sometimes get cluttered with things that we know we need to address but that we tend to neglect. And, just like my closet, it can get to the point where the job seems so immense that the thought of even starting is a bit discouraging. What if you can’t get through? What if the road is too hard? Isn’t it better not to try and succeed than to try and fail?

But here’s what I know to be true: when it comes to spiritual spring cleaning, you don’t have to do it alone. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit living in us, drawing us to Jesus and helping us to live lives that glorify him and bring about his kingdom. The Holy Spirit doesn’t just stand there and lecture us about how untidy the place is; he changes our motivations so that we can’t help but make a change.

I wish the same were true of my closet.

Anyway, I want to invite you to spend some time in prayer this week and ask God to show you an area of your life where you can stand to do some spring cleaning. And once he reveals that to you, take action. 

Over the past two weeks, 15 people participated in our membership orientations (not including the people who are currently members who came out as well). That’s an example of taking action to address a spring cleaning issue. Maybe taking the step of membership is something you need to do, and if it is I’d love to talk to you more about it.

Here’s something else to consider: I’d love to do baptisms as part of our Easter Sunday celebration, so if you’ve never been baptized, then maybe this is the time to think about that. Two people have already expressed interest, and I’d love for there to be more. So if the Holy Spirit is putting that call on your life, talk to me this Sunday or send an email to parkland@parkland.org.

Whatever you do, remember this: God is interested in the lives of his people. He wants the best for us. And he will surely help us to grow into the image of our Saviour, Jesus, if we’re willing to allow the Holy Spirit to work. And that’s a result worth getting excited about.