Pastor Mike's thoughts

Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Spring has sprung, so the other day I was thinking about how many people don't like the words, "Spring Cleaning," so today I decided to discuss how to do a "real" Spring Cleaning. Mark 7:14-15, "Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, 'Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him unclean by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean.'" (NIV)

Dust bunnies run under the bed, cobwebs dangle from the ceiling, handprints point the way to the bedrooms, filmy windows play hide and seek with the sunshine. Yup, it's time for spring-cleaning. When the air warms and the sun shines brightly, it puts me in the mood to clean my home. Most of the time I abide by the slogan, "A tidy but comfortably cluttered home is good enough for me." However, I do like spring-cleaning.

Do you know that spring-cleaning began thousands of years ago in the Middle East? It all started when God issued the decree to the Hebrews to eat the Passover meal and celebrate it for the generations to come. One of the requirements in commemorating Passover was to remove any type of yeast or leaven from their homes. The Jewish Book of Why explains, "Why must the Jewish home be scoured clean before the Passover holiday? To find leaven in a home after the holiday has begun is considered a serious breach of Jewish law. From biblical times onward, the law had required that every bit of leavened bread and all materials and products associated with it (that is, leaven) be removed from the house before Passover so that it will not even be seen during the holiday."

So what's the big deal with yeast? In the New Testament, we're told that yeast represents different types of sin. Many times Jesus warned His disciples, "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees." He didn't want the disciples to be influenced by the cold legalism of the religious teachers. The Apostle Paul elaborated on yeast a bit more. He wrote, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast - as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8, NIV) Paul points out just what the key verse for today indicates. It's the junk inside of us that makes us unclean, not what's on the outside.

Do you recall that even Peter needed to be wiped down a bit? Before they celebrated the Passover feast, Jesus started to wash the disciples feet. Peter hesitated, not wanting Jesus to do it. However, Jesus insisted that Peter needed a little sprucing up. Here is how the Apostle John tells the story:

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."

Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. (John 13:6-10, NIV)

So, yes! If Peter needed to be cleaned-up, I know I do too. Just as my home gathers dust, dirt and smudges over time, so does my soul. I need to get the tarnish of yeasty sinful attitudes out and allow God to polish me up to shine for His Kingdom. Ephesians 5:26 even tells me what type of polish to use, "Cleansing her by the washing with water through the word." (NIV) On that note, I think I will quit vacuuming the drapes. Spring-cleaning my soul sounds a lot better.

Take a spiritual inventory by asking simple questions like these. What needs to be cleansed within you? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? Lack of love? Do I read my Bible everyday? How much priority do I place on spiritual housekeeping? What can I do to incorporate more time in God's Word throughout the week? These are just a few questions that will help you clean house and get rid of the "sin bunnies."

Here's some more verses on Spiritual Spring Cleaning that will help you with your inventory:

1 Corinthians 5:7-8, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth." (NIV)

Luke 11:39, "Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness." (NIV)

Leviticus 10:10, "You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean." (NIV)

Galatians 5:22-26, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." (NIV)

Wow! I really cleaned up today didn't I?...:)

Well, I gotta go for now, remember this deep thought from my shallow mind, "you're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster."

Have a blessed day, and I look forward to talking to you all again tomorrow...

Giving it all to Jesus,
Pastor Mike


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