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Summary: The real interior work begins when we openly examine ourselves and determine to cooperate with God's work of transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.

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Title: The Housecleaning Choice

Text: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Thesis: The real interior work begins when I openly examine ourselves and determine to cooperate with God’s work of transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.

Lenten Series: Life’s Healing Choices (Saddleback Resources)

Introduction

Before Bonnie and I can leave on vacation or go away for a few days, we have a ritual. It’s called: Clean the house in case something happens and we die and relatives and friends have to go into our house and go through our stuff. It’s a little like your mother’s warning, “Don’t leave the house wearing dirty underwear because you just never know…” You don’t want anyone to see that you live in filth or wear dirty underwear.

House cleaning can take all manner of forms from dusting and straightening up so the place looks passable. Or it can mean rooting out all manner of uncleanness and clutter where ever it may lurk. The dishes are washed. The dishwasher is emptied and the cupboards are full of sparkling clean dishes. Nothing remains in the “frig” that will likely go south for some time. The bathrooms sparkle. A new shower curtain is hung and a new shower mat is placed in the tub. Freshly laundered towels hang on the rods. Clothes are laundered, anything ratty is tossed from dresser drawers, garments are carefully folded and put away, and behind the closet doors everything is neatly hung and shoes are on their rack. The bed is made up with the fancy quilt and those big pillows that are generally stacked in the corner until people visit or we go away. All evidence of my newspaper reading and crossword puzzle doing is recycled. The pile of books stacked by my chair are toted to the basement When we near the end, it usually means several trips to the dumpster and concludes with running the vacuum leaving perfect little vacuum “V’s” so that when you back out the door there is no human track to be seen.

Generally it is an attempt at making sure that nothing remains that could be embarrassing should someone have to come in and clean house in the unlikely event of our untimely demise. (And on the upside, it is always nice to come home to a clean house.)

This is the fourth Sunday of our Series on Life’s Healing Choices.

• Week One: We faced our spiritual poverty and concluded, “I can’t.” That is the Reality Choice.

• Week Two: We were reminded that despite our utter helplessness, “God can.” That is the Hope Choice.

• Week Three: We then are humbled before God and decide to, “Let God…” That is the commitment Choice.

As we come to week four we ask ourselves, “What is the next step?”

• Week Four: We call it the Housecleaning Choice.

The bible teaches us that God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

The bible teaches us that if we confess our sins God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness. I John 1:9

The bible teaches us that those who believe in and receive Christ as our Savior we will not perish but have eternal life.

The bible teaches us that if anyone is in Christ, is a new creation; old things have passed away and all things have become new. II Corinthians 5:17

However, the moment we are born again does not mean we are all grown up and Christ-like in every way. We are not finished products. We may have turned from darkness to light, i.e., we may have turned from our old way of life to Christ and a new way of life. We may have begun the journey but have not arrived yet.

It is imperative that we remember we are works in process.

I. We are works in process.

The bible teaches us that God, having begun this new work in us is faithful and he will complete the work that he started. Philippians 1:6

Michelangelo worked on his sculpture of David in Florence, Italy from 1501 – 1507. It was hewn from a block of marble from a quarry in northern Tuscany. When completed Michelangelo’s David was a marvelous work of art standing 17 feet tall with eyes in a warning glare turned toward Rome. It is said that when asked how he did such a magnificent work of art Michelangelo would say, “I just cut away everything that was not David.”

That is something like the process of spiritual formation that is taking place in our lives as God cuts away, so to speak, all that is not who we will eventually be. Neither are we any longer who we were; nor are we who we will become…

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