I was cleaning my house today, and as I was cleaning, I was bemoaning the fact that it had been cleaned recently, and yet today, here I am again, back at it, cleaning the same floor, the same dish, the same rug, making the same bed, and dusting the same furniture. You would think that after the scrubbing the house got the last time I cleaned, that the cleaning would have lasted longer than this! Have you ever felt that way?
Today, after cleaning, I was tired, but felt quite happy that my house was clean… until I sat down for a minute's rest and looked up at the ceiling, and realized that there was a cobweb or two I had missed. Then I remembered the storage room, and the boxes of dust-laden junk in there that I still needed to go through, and then remembered that drawer in my cabinet, and realized there was junk in there that needed organizing… just when I thought I was through! I sighed, and just sank back down on the couch… “can’t I just have a moment of victory” I thought? Just ONE time when I can relax and know that the entire house is completely clean, perfect, and without a spot or wrinkle or piece of dust or junk anywhere?
I then began to contemplate how much housework is like my own spiritual life. You see, housekeeping in my heart is a lot of work too. I must spend a lot of time in prayer… figuratively dusting, wiping, polishing, and throwing out things in my life every day. Every day, I must deal with the dust that has settled on my heart from yesterday… the word spoken that was hurtful, the thought that passed through my mind - which I allowed to rest there ... and on the list goes. It never seems to end!
Each day when I am in prayer, I go through the rooms of my heart, and try to clean, polish, eradicate, and move around the dust, dirt and grime that has settled since yesterday, and as I finish praying, I feel confident that I’ve completely cleaned the “house of my heart”. I may feel confident that I can leave from here today, and I won’t have to come back and clean this room again.
Alas, though… for as soon as I leave my time of prayer, that thought that I believed I had banished forever, pounces back and props itself up in my mind… bringing with it then a new challenge and course of necessary action. This challenge presents itself even as I remember an injustice some years ago, and again I feel sudden anger rise up, even as I had just prayed moments before, and thought I had eradicated all anger and malice from my heart!
How can this be?
If you’re reading this, and you think… haha, that poor soul… she just hasn’t learned to overcome. She hasn’t read the scripture that says “Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Hmmph! .. she will never achieve perfection. She’s not doing something right. She must not have the same spirit of Christ that I have…
Perhaps some may think that way… that they are perfected completely in all manner, shape and forms. They believe that they have prayed, and cleaned, and dusted, and done all the housekeeping in the rooms of their hearts… and they will never be back again in this lifetime to ever have to houseclean that heart room again. Hmmm… sounds like a fairytale story to me…
Let’s look at another aspect of this for just a moment. Peter speaks in Acts 2:38 and says “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the REMISSION of your sins.”
Let’s take a look at the word “remission”, and what it means in the English language… http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/remission
: a period of time during a serious illness when the patient's health improves
: the act of reducing or canceling the amount of money that you owe
And now, let’s look at the Greek word for remission:
Cognate: 859 áphesis (from 863 /aphíēmi, "send away, forgive" ) – properly, "something sent away"; i.e. remission ("forgiveness"), releasing someone from obligation or debt. See 863 (aphiēmi).
So the remission of sins essentially means this “sending away and releasing our obligation or debt” of sin.
Now, I’ve always thought that remission of sins essentially meant that the sin was eradicated or done away with. Apparently not so. The translations of remission essentially mean that the sin has been released from our debt, and we owe no more obligation because of that sin. It does not say that the sin would never tempt or bother us again, it just means that sin has been released from our debt. If that were the case, then the scripture would read “eradication” or “destruction” of sin.. but it doesn’t, it reads… remission.
With the understanding of the word remission, now let’s look at a practical example of remission in our lives today.
We all know of someone who has cancer that has been told that their cancer is in “remission”. This means that the cancer has been beat back, sent away, and is gone for the present time. However, does this mean that the cancer will never, ever, ever return? No... it means simply that right now, the cancer is gone, and not currently a problem. However, the cancer patient knows that this means the cancer is dormant, and could return at any time. In order to keep the cancer at bay, sometimes they have to take a drug to actively kill any cancer cells that may try to pop up. Or it means they may have to change their lifestyle, and eat more or less of certain foods, and live more healthier in order to preventively fight back that cancer from returning.
In a sense though, the patient knows that cancer is never gone, and unfortunately, most of us can all relate or know of someone in whom the cancer was in remission, yet it may return, pop out of remission, for a variety of reasons, and many times after being in remission for a while, sadly claims its victim in the final battle.
This is not a pretty picture of sin at all, but I think sin needs to be understood using this illustration. There is a reason that the apostles taught that sin is in remission. It is gone, and removed from our debt... as long as we allow the Spirit of Christ to REIGN in our lives. However, at any given time, should we let down our guard, and not allow the Spirit of Christ to reign in our lives, that dormant sin that had been in remission, can rise up again to torture, torment, and wreak havoc with our lives.
Thus the only cure
and the only remedy
to keep sin in remission
is the constant application of blood of Christ,
and by allowing the Spirit of Christ to reign within us.
We must be aware and cognizant of the fact that sin has not yet been destroyed… not yet. That final day of reckoning with sin is coming and will take place when we stand before the White Throne Judgment, when satan and all his imps are cast into their eternal destiny, and then sin finally will be destroyed, forever.
That day has not yet come.
Sin is in remission, it is beat back, and victory is around the corner, but we cannot relax and think that our enemy of sin won’t come back to haunt and terrorize us ever again.
Because THAT is the lie that satan wants us to believe. He wants us to forget about the dormancy of sin, and seeing our relaxation (failing to read the Word, pray, and allow the Spirit of Christ to reign in us), then temptation comes and whispers to us when our guard is down, we are taken unawares, and captured again by the effect of sin… and if that sin is not dealt with, and put into remission… we stand to lose that battle against sin.
The truth simply is that all disciples of Christ are waging a constant battle against sin and our flesh nature, even those who claim to be the most spiritual of those among us… and none of us will be victors until we have gained eternity! Jesus Christ is the only perfect man, and the ONLY human to have completely attained victory over sin…. Yet. But there is coming a day when we will receive new and incorruptible bodies whereby we will be made into His image… then and only then will we have achieved complete victory over sin!
Now, with this understanding of sin, you can see why sin is so much like housework. Those of us who have the responsibility of housework in our homes, understand that while you can accomplish much in one day, and feel like the job is done, in reality we know that tomorrow, the very same job awaits us. Just as housework is never done, so the battle with sin and our flesh nature will never be done until we have reached eternity. The enemy would have us to think that once we beat it into submission once, that the job is done, and in believing that lie, we let down our guard, while he pounces on us in a weak moment, and destroys all that we have worked so hard for.
So, if we begin to understand that sin is something we must constantly be on guard against, fight against, and keep in remission, as much as possible, then we can and will win not only the battle... but the war! The Spirit of Christ living within us is well able to pinpoint and discern the things that creep into our lives just like tiny specks of dust and dirt creep into our homes.
The apostle Paul understood this concept, and tried to relate it to us in Romans 5, when he said, "Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Of course, we know that only Jesus can help us fight the battle against sin, but we must understand that it is a daily battle! We will NOT win the war against sin until eternity, when sin is banished forever.
Yet, we go on fighting this battle with sin and our flesh nature, using the overcoming power which is the pinpointing-cleaning out Spirit of Christ in our lives to wrest, and pull, tug and stomp on the vestiges of impurity remaining in our lives, until the day that we finally reach eternity, where we will hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”
It is a long hard battle that we fight, yet we cannot fight it with our own strength, it must be fought with the Spirit of Christ! We must allow the Spirit of Christ to reign in us, to illuminate, spot, discern, and remove the stains and spots of sin in our lives! And at the same time, we must not be ignorant of the tactics of our very flesh nature, and of the enemy satan either… who seek to constantly destroy the work of Christ in our lives.
We must strive for perfection - which is living above perpetual continuing sin - yet at the same time we must acknowledge that until the day we are changed from corruptible to incorruptible, we will wage this war with sin, our flesh, and satan.
We must not be ignorant of his devices, whose main goal is to bring the sin back to us that we have once put into remission, to bring it up again, and parade it before us. If we are not cognizant of the fact that he seeks to revive the sin we once thought was in remission, we will fall in defeat and failure.
That is why the Spirit of Christ must reign in our lives, each and every day!
We must be willing to die out to sin, to the natures of our flesh, to the lusts that reach out to us each day from this body of death we dwell in, and EACH DAY, every hour, yes, every moment of the day, we must be cognizant, and aware of the battle that we are in!
So the next time you are doing housework, and you feel like you have thoroughly cleaned your house from top to bottom, it is spic and span clean in every way… can you can say that indeed you have cleaned out each and every closet, every single bare inch of floor in that house, that every single inch of wall space, and cabinet space has been cleaned, and that dust has been completely removed and eradicated from your house, never to return? I think not!
Housework is never, ever done! Because even if a dish is clean today, tomorrow it will be dirty again. A cobweb may be banished today, but the spider may come back in the middle of the night, and spin his web again. A closet may be cleaned out today, but tomorrow someone may throw a whole new pile of junk into it. The floor may be clean after you scrub it, but in a moment your son may walk through the door with muddy boots, oblivious to the fact that you just scrubbed it, and alas, it is dirty again!
Spiritually looking at this, we may wage a battle, and feel victorious because one spiritual closet sin has been cleaned, yet all the while we know there are five other closet sins in our spiritual house which haven’t been dealt with yet.
Such is the battle with sin... yes we will win some battles against it! Addictions have been eradicated, sins may have been exposed and expelled from our lives… but beware, our greatest enemy within, our flesh… never stops seeking and looking for an opportunity to rise up again, out of remission, and attack us again, unaware! Yes, we can win battles, but our flesh seeks to win the war.
Our only hope is this…. allowing the Spirit of Christ moment by moment access to our deepest heart secrets, and allow Jesus and His Word to seek out, pinpoint, and deal with any uncleanness in our heart each and every day. This is the only way we can we ever have any hope at all of winning the final war!
Do not let down your guard! Do not think your spiritual house is clean forever, and ever amen! Do not think that because you have won one battle, that the war is over! Remember following Jesus is a choice, and daily you must pick up the cross and follow Him. It is a daily - moment by moment - crucifixion of our flesh and its desires! A daily decision to actively fight, and battle against the desires of our flesh and sin nature!
The difference is your awareness of that sin, and how you deal with it.
Do you ignore it?
Well, if you ignore your housework, guess what happens? A month of ignoring dirty dishes… a month of not doing laundry… a month of not vacuuming carpet, a month of not cleaning floors, a month of not dusting cobwebs… and what do you have?
A MESS! Just as in our lives… if we go very long without dealing with our heart issues in prayer… what do we have? A MESS! The longer we wait, the worse it becomes! The more we have to deal with.
Which brings us to the necessity of constant daily prayer, and studying the Word. The Word of God is our weapon that pinpoints and zeroes in on unholy things in our lives, and then the Spirit of Christ within us gives us the power and strength, to throw that thing off our back, far away from us. And if we keep the word of God spotlighted on that sin, and the Spirit of Christ fully operational, and working in our lives, that sin will not be given the opportunity to return. The spotlight of the Word of God will announce it’s evil appearance every time, and we can then fall onto the mercy of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ within us to throw back that sin or temptation once again.
Our weapons are the Word of God, and the Spirit of Christ reigning in us… we are fighting the battle against sin, and we will win as long as we use the weapons at our disposal, but the WAR has not yet ended… so be on guard!
Remember the sin in your heart may be in remission… but at your weakest moment, it can pop its ugly head up, and unless the Word of God has been planted at the door of your heart, and unless the Spirit of Christ is actively working in your life, you will not win that battle. That is the enemy’s plan, that is the work of the flesh… to rob us of our victory just when we think we’ve overcome!
So, be aware of the attack, and the plan of our enemies – sin/flesh and satan. Keep the Word of God on guard at the door of your heart. Bathe your life in the word of God, it is the two-edged sword that protects you from the enemies that batter your soul. Keep the Spirit of Christ alive, and reigning in your life, each and every moment of the day. With these two weapons at our disposal, we can overcome the battles with sin, our flesh, and the enemy satan, and in the end, we will have overcome and be victorious in the WAR against the enemy and will be overcomers with Jesus Christ our Lord!
The next time you are doing housework, imagine cleaning out the rooms of your heart, and ask the Lord to show you all the dusty cobwebs, smudges of dirt, and layers of grime that may be hidden deep in the depths of those rooms.
Don’t be afraid to allow the illumination of the word of God to reveal dormant sin wherever it may be in your life.
Don’t be afraid to let the spotlight of the Word of God rest on that sin, and follow through with removing it and placing it under the blood. Speak to that sin, and command it to leave in the name of our Lord Jesus. Rebuke, and remove it and all ties it may have in your life. This is a battle for your soul, and you have the tools to win, but you have to use the tools. Tools are no good if you just ignore them. Our tools are the Word of God, and the Spirit of Christ within us which grows and flourishes in our heart through prayer. Ignoring these tools will be to our detriment. Our flesh, and satan seek to remove these tools from our lives in every way possible.
Remember this too... if you don’t win a battle, know that the war is still raging, so get back up, put back on the weapons of your warfare, and continue fighting! Our objective is to win the war!
And since we have read the end of the book, we know we are winning, one battle at a time! Don’t believe or listen to the lies of the enemy or of our flesh. Look the lies in the face and throw them out. Don’t give place to the enemy in any form or fashion. Fight this fight with the Word of God, and the Spirit of Christ.
We can win this war, one battle at a time! By FAITH, and the overcoming power of the blood of the LAMB!
I know now that I will never clean house again without being reminded of the lesson the Lord has shown me about how sin, impurity, temptations, fleshly desires.... how they are so similar to housework... and yet, praise God... I don't have to fall prey to their destructive intentions, but I can swipe that cobweb off its perch, throw away the junk, clean that plate one more time... and while doing so, thank the Lord that I am an overcomer through the power of the Spirit of the Lord, and by the blood of the Lamb!
If you are overdue for some time spent with the Lord going through the rooms of your heart... here is a song that has blessed me many times as the Lord and I do some "heart housecleaning" together. May the Lord bless you with all the richness His presence affords. :)