Monday, November 28, 2011
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room
Every year we spend the day after Thanksgiving decorating our home for Christmas while the Black Friday shoppers attack with their avarice. The kids were wonderful this year and entered in to the work with festive joy. They each played a vital role in the team, packing up Autumn decorations, dusting, washing windows and folding laundry so we could get the place clean before we began to deck-the-halls. Together we had many giggles as I watched my monkeys climb the maple tree outside to hang sparkling ornaments blowing in the winter breeze. Inside, the carols were ringing and the tubs of trimmings were beckoning.
The house looked like a bomb went off in it after we had brought plastic totes up from the basement containing what we needed to get the job done. I was cranky from the claustrophobia of having stuff everywhere, and I was anxious to get things in order. I couldn't wait to get the ugliness and litter out. I just knew there was joyful beauty waiting underneath the disastrous mess!
During my quiet hours of Bible time and prayer in the early morning, God gave me a great insight. You see, I have struggled with ungodly emotions and behaviors. Bitterness, a short temper, selfishness are much like the clutter that I need to get out of my life. I'm growing in the Lord, but too often it seems to get worse before it gets better. I am motivated by celebrating a glorious good God, and I just know the Holy Spirit within me can transform. But as I pull things out in my life, it almost seems at times like I'm moving in the exact opposite direction.
How very much this resembles our Christmas decorating! I see that I need to pack away resentment, but things are a bit messy before I incorporate selflessness into my life. My irritability needs to be washed away, but it takes some time before His perfect peace is established where I reside. The cleaner I get things, the more I realize I need to get cleaned. The joy of God's glory is crowded out by all my stuff, and the only way to reveal it is to deal with one undesirable piece at a time. It all seems so overwhelming. And too often I only feel like I'm making things worse instead of moving in a positive direction.
The other part of this is that much like decking-the-halls, it's a job that is best not attacked alone. The admonition and encouragement of other believers helps get the job done more effectively while fostering a happy heart. Since our Maker created us to be relational, He uses others to help fine tune our character into one that is far more pleasing to Him. Working together, we sense that we are marching onward despite temporary setbacks.
As we begin this years Advent season, remember that just like the filthy house, you are a work in progress. Inch by inch God will grow you into the image of His son Jesus in increasing measure. With persistence, focus, and fellowship you will begin to rid yourself of the unattractive things that litter your life. And under those behaviors and thoughts are the glow and peace of your awesome Lord!
Pray: Wise and merciful God, I can only clean house with Your help! Assist me as I make more and more room in my heart for You this Advent season!