In the midst of spring cleaning season this may seem like an odd post. So let me start out by saying with honesty and enthusiasm that I believe in having a clean home. A clean house is a good thing! It is a good thing to work for and it is good to desire to have. I absolutely love when my house is all clean! That may seem like a bit of a strange intro to a post entitled “Casting Down the Idol of a Clean Home”, but I think it’s an important starting point. As women we are called by God to be sensible and pure workers at home. (Titus 2:5) One of our primary roles given to us by the Lord is to work within our homes serving our husbands and children. This means we are the ones who do (or delegate and oversee) the dusting, the laundry, the toilet scrubbing, dishes, and the list goes on. That is good and right, and we should do that with joy! We should desire to do it well, and work diligently to improve in areas that we struggle in. We should do this job heartily as unto the Lord, and not to please men.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:23-24)
I believe whole-heartedly that the idolizing of a clean house comes when we are no longer doing our work of homemaking as unto the Lord, but instead we are doing it to please ourselves and the eyes of men. All idolatry is sin against the Lord that must be confessed and repented of. A Christian lady will not walk in this once she sees it, she will turn from it and call upon the help of the Holy Spirit to do so. She will give herself to meditating on God’s Word and to spiritual disciplines, and she will fight this sin. I say that so plainly because it’s easy to read a post like this and think, “Oh, I do that too, glad I’m not the only one”, and then never actually repent of it. It is one thing to read a post like this and recognize a sin problem, but that won’t really accomplish anything. Our response when we see idolatry in our hearts is to turn from it: that will likely begin as turning from it moment by moment, bringing all of your thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ, confessing our sins and failures to the Lord and knowing He will forgive us. In time by the help of the Spirit you will grow stronger, and your heart will learn to look more faithfully to the Lord as you work, and these temptations to idolatry will be less and less. Sanctification is such an amazing and freeing thing! It brings such joy! But sanctification does take willingness and work on our behalf, and it is worth pursuing. This is what it looks like to submit to Jesus as Lord.
Clean House Idolatry Hearthcheck
Here are a few things we can ask ourselves to identify the idol of a clean home.
- Do I lose my joy, am I consumed with anxiety when we have a life event (sickness, pregnancy, or a similar event) that prevents me from tending to the house and it seems as if everything falls behind and out of order? Or will I accept that this is exactly what the Lord has for us right now? It was in His sovereign plan for this event to occur, and He intends to use it for our good and for His glory. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9) Will I think on this truth when the going gets tough and find my joy in Him or will I let the mess in my house cause me to sin against the Lord with my anxiety and despair? We must learn to rejoice even in the midst of chaos, weakness, and messes.
- Do I put my to do list and cleaning schedule before my kids? Do I value productivity more than people? Do I feel like I have more important things to do in the area of cleaning and homemaking that I neglect the hearts of my children? Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4) Honestly ladies, I struggle with this, that’s why I’m writing about it…. I’ve been thinking about this. I have a vision of being a nurturing relational mother, and yet at the end of some days I regret that while I did get a lot done on my list; laundry is caught up, floors are mopped, closets are organized, some freezer meals were put together, but I didn’t really interact with my children in meaningful ways. That is not how I want to live, and I don’t think that is right. God has given these children to me as one of my first priorities. The messes clean up and get messy again, but teachable moments and sweet little opportunities to really deepen relationship with my children don’t always come back around.
- Do I get quick tempered with my children, lose my patience and gentleness, yell at them because they are making a mess or making it impossible for me to get anything done around the house? Do I act out of my flesh or am I walking in the Spirit when these things happen? But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24) Do I sigh, moan, and grumble at my little interruptions that hinder productivity? Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. (Phillipians 2:14-15) I too have to take these thoughts captive and turn from this behavior; I don’t have this all together, but I’m identifying it and I’m choosing to see these little people as God sees them. Children are called a “heritage” or “gift” and a “reward” in the Bible. Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. (Psalm 127:3) God views them as way more important than a clean home. I think this is something we would do well to think on often in regards to the children He has given us, do we treat them as more important than a clean home?
If you see yourself in any of this, then join me in casting down this idol.
Casting down the idol
We must begin to turn our hearts more and more fully to the Lord for all things.
- He has given grace upon grace to cover this sin struggle of idolizing our clean house by sending Jesus to die for our sins; He took the wrath this idolatry deserves upon Himself. That is such a joyful and freeing thing. We do not have to walk in defeat or despair. We can walk in victory in our pursuit of holiness.
- He has given His Word to shape our thoughts and renew our minds so that we will know what is true and right.We must be willing to do the hard work of renewing our minds. It may help you to write some of the Scriptures above down and put them up on the fridge so that you can pray through them and meditate on them when the house is getting messy and you’re starting to lose your cool.
- He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us put this sin to death and to turn from it when temptation comes. When you feel those anxious thoughts about the messes in the house creeping in, pray and ask for the help of the Spirit. We have a good Father who loves to care for His children and give them what they need to overcome sin.
He has given us everything we need to cast down this idol of a clean home and to worship the Lord in and through our homemaking, child raising, and all the many productivity interruptions that the Lord has planned for us.
Let us run to Him today.
If this was helpful please save and share on pinterest with my image below.
Spring Cleaning Challenge Giveaway!
Now for all of you who are trying to do a bit of spring cleaning, I have something fun! How can it be? Another instant pot giveaway? And a $50 amazon gift card? I know, awesome, right? All the details are below!
I’m joining with some fantastic homemakers to host a 6-week spring clean and declutter challenge starting March 6! Click here to download the planner and find out more about the challenge. THEN enter below to win the Spring Homemaking Giveaway to bless your home and family! The winner will receive an Instant Pot Duo 6-quart 7-in-1 pressure cooker! ($234.95 value) AND a $50 Amazon gift card!
Giveaway runs until 11:59pm PST on 4/23/17. Winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
(because my comments are disabled, leave a comment on this post for your first entry)