When I am vacuuming, there is nothing more gratifying to me than the crinkly sound that assures me I'm actually cleaning.  When I can look down at the carpet and see the difference, a feeling of pride swells within me.  Who would have thought that something as simple as a household chore could make someone feel so good?

But I don't particularly enjoy vacuuming, especially if there are numerous obstacles I have to move or dodge.  Not to mention the fact that uncoiling the tangled mess of a power cord is not on my list of Top Ten Things I Love Doing.  It's often a hassle to have to stop and rearrange things so that you can get the entire floor clean, so most of us instead choose to simply clean what we can see.  It's less demanding.  It requires less time and effort and we can still maintain the image of a clean room without all the work.

We're like that a lot in our spiritual lives as well.  When God sweeps through and asks us to evaluate our hearts and our spirits, we often only give halfhearted glances.  We see the looming issues in our lives, and we know that in order to attain the freedom to become what God desires us to be, we have to get rid of those looming issues.  But dealing with them is a hassle.  It's demanding and requires time, effort, tears, and other such lovely things that we run away from.  So we tidy up, satisfied with the minimal effort we've given, and assure God that we've evaluated ourselves.  We are fully prepared and ready for whatever He has for us.

And then we get disheartened, discouraged, and annoyed when He holds a different opinion.

God will not settle for anything less than our everything.  He is full of mercy and grace, yes.  But don't allow that to fool you.  When Christ asks to live in our hearts, He doesn't do it with intentions of sharing it with anything or anyone that we're not willing to let go of.  He asks for complete surrender, and that means allowing Him to help you rearrange and remove whatever you refuse to clean up.  

He's not asking for perfection; He's asking for your heart.  He's not demanding that you prepare it for Him; He's making it known that He is a loving, but jealous, God.  And that He will help you with whatever housekeeping you need to do in order to live your life to its fullest potential in Christ.  Don't just tidy up to maintain an image.  Do some serious housekeeping in your heart.  For the reward of a closer, deeper relationship with Christ is much more than just a clean carpet.  It's a changed life.

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