It’s getting to be that time of year again.
The time of year when we all have a little cabin fever and are beginning to think about spring’s approach. With spring comes many wonderful things: birds returning, new leaves, snow melting, time outdoors, and of course: spring cleaning.
Even those who don’t pride themselves in being organized and “type A” likely enjoy the satisfaction that comes with accomplishing a good spring cleaning.
There is something deeply satisfying to getting things in order, cleaning, and even downsizing.
This should come as no surprise to us. God, we are told, is “not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God's holy people” (1 Corinthians 14:33). While this verse is specifically referring to the health of the church, the truth that orderly, peaceful things come from God can be applied to other circumstances as well.
God created the world in an orderly way, as the account in Genesis tells us. And as scientists are still discovering, the world is built around orderly principles from how living organisms can be categorized into genus, species, etc. to the way the heavenly bodies rotate.
We are created in God’s image, so we often find joy in having things be orderly, clean, and functioning well, as God does.
I would posit that few of us view spring cleaning as a spiritual activity, even though we probably know the old maxim that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” But while this phrase seems generally to be directed at children to get them to clean up, there is some deeper truth behind it.
Certainly, God does not require you to have a spotless house in order to be close to Him or to be following Him wholeheartedly, but the effects of spring cleaning can have implications for our faith.
Here are a few specific ways in which a clean, organized home can actually benefit your relationship with the Lord:
1. De-cluttering and organizing can help you simplify your life and prioritize the things that really matter.
So often in our busy, 21st century schedules we allow things to distract us from what Jesus called “the good portion” and the “only one thing worth being concerned about” (Luke 10:42). Simplifying our lives by downsizing and decluttering may run contrary to the “get, get, get” mentality that the world shouts to us, but getting rid of distractions allows us to have more focus on the things that really matter.
2. Having an organized and de-cluttered home can open up opportunities for hospitality.
Now, let me first say that God can work in messy spaces as well as organized ones if He desires to, and for those with young children, keeping a spotless home probably can’t (and shouldn’t) be your first priority. Nevertheless, organizing and cleaning the spaces in which we live when possible can open up great opportunities for hospitality, which can lead to other ministry opportunities.
For one thing, we are more likely to invite others over if our homes are clean, but also, cleaning and organizing the spaces in which we live can be a way to serve others and to remember that all the blessings we have are from the Lord and do not truly belong to us. A relaxing, inviting home environment can mean a lot to a couple with young children you could invite over for a meal or to an out of town friend who needs a place to stay for the night.
I’ve been a guest at quite a few homes over the years, and I always find myself being truly grateful to those whom I can tell work to keep their homes neat and organized. It may seem like a small blessing, but it can turn a heart toward gratitude, which is not something to be taken lightly.
3. Having a clean and organized home can help you save time.
While this may seem like a purely practical concern, it too has spiritual implications. How many times have you wasted time rummaging through your disorganized pantry for the box of cereal you wanted to have for breakfast? Or how many times have you wasted time digging through your dresser drawer to find the right pair of socks while getting dressed in the morning? I am certainly guilty of this sort of thing, and what is worse, oftentimes it is these silly small things, which could have been so easily prevented, which use up the time I had intended to use for a few minutes of Bible reading in the morning or a few minutes of prayer before bed.
I’ve found that the cleaner and more organized my house is, the more time I have to spend with the Lord or with others who need my time. Having a clean and organized environment also makes me more likely to be in the right mindset to read my morning devotions or to have a time of prayer.
These are only a few ways that striving to be good stewards of the things God has given us can glorify him.
In what ways have you found that keeping a clean and organized home can benefit your relationship with the Lord?
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com.
Publication date: February 25, 2016