Wednesday, December 12, 2007

De-Toxing the House...De-Tox your Heart

A good de-toxing of the house begins with de-toxing our hearts and minds.

We are alert to the toxins outside of ourselves, such as germs and harmful chemicals. If someone offered any one of us a glass of water with just one teeny, tiny drop of poison in it, we'd shrink back in horror.

But, how easy it is to accept just a teeny tiny amount of sin. Sometimes, we do this without even realizing how damaging this will be to our relationship with God. We also don't foresee the hurt it can cause to our relationships with family and other, our own souls, and our physical health as well. We allow seeds of worry, bitterness, gossip, doubt, lack of trust, discontent, envy, irritability, lust, and unforgiveness to take root in our hearts.

At first, we are scarcely bothered by these seeds, but if we nourish these seeds to maturity, we reap a bitter harvest. If we sow to please the Spirit, however, the harvest will be sweet.

Keeping the air, water, and food in our homes clean is vital to our family's physical health. Moreover, we should we try to be faithful stewards of the good earth that God has given us. There's no doubt about that.

However, the wise woman keeps this in perspective, for she knows that spiritual and emotional purity is even more important than environmental purity. Right now, our culture places a premium on creating and following rules to eliminate physical toxins from our environment, as well as putting great emphasis on eating or not eating certain foods. Paradoxically, we regard striving for purity of heart and soul as being old-fashioned, irrelevant, or even restricting.

We can all get swept along in our culture's mindset to some degree. It's always easier to focus on some outer threat than it is to deal with the condition of our hearts. Yet, it's only when we get our priorities right with the Lord that we find true life and peace. Saving the environment and keeping our homes clean will do some real good for a finite period of time. Godliness, however, has value for eternity.

This sort of reminds me of Jesus words when the Pharisees got on him for not observing their tradition of ceremonial handwashings:

"Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them. "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean."

There's a saying that helps me with this: If you bump a cup filled with pure and sweet water, only pure and sweet water can spill out. God often shows me by how I react to the little "bumps" in my life whether I've allowed the Lord to fill my heart and my mind with pure and sweet things or if I've been filling them with things that are bitter and impure. If the first words out of my mouth are testy, I can always trace my irritation back to negative thoughts that I've been nursing at the back of my mind.

Similarly, if I've been focusing on the bitter, all the house cleaning in the world won't soothe my soul. If I've been focusing on the sweet, then whatever I turn my hand to flows from better motives and is more satisfying.




Hadias said...

Psalm 139

23Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

This is a wonderful post which encourages me to continually go before God to have Him search my heart.

It can't be left up to me to search it, I may allow pride to set in and cause me harbor those sinful toxins.

But sin cannot exist in the presence of God. He is the great physician.

Elizabeth said...

That's a good point, Hadias. The Bible examines this from both angles: There are many verses that encourage us to examine our ways, our hearts, and our faith in light of God's word as our measuring stick. There are also many verses that remind us of how deceptive our own hearts can be, and how much we have to depend on God.

Since our pride does deceive us, we do need to ask God to search our hearts, as David asked in Psalm 139. We have to stay into Christ's light if we really want to see. Thanks for reminding us of that.