This morning I woke up, read a chapter of my Bible, and then cracked open my newest favorite by Elisabeth Elliot. By “newest,” I mean the most recent I’ve been reading. Truth be told, I’ve tried to read this book twice already and never been able to get through more than a chapter or two. Why? Maybe the title will shed some light on the answer: Discipline: The Glad Surrender. Yes, it’s a book about discipline, but certainly the best book on the subject I’ve come across. (Of course, I don’t read widely on that subject… but still.)
I happened to be on the chapter about the discipline of work, which opens with these words:
There is no such thing as Christian work. That is, there is no work in the world which is, in and of itself, Christian. Christian work is any kind of work, from cleaning a sewer to preaching a sermon, that is done by a Christian and offered to God.
I immediately realized that this could apply to my “work” for the day: vacuuming. It’s my Saturday chore. So I got out the vacuum ad my earbuds and set to work.
I was interrupted by an email from a brand-new follower, here on my blog. (Welcome, by the way!) It made me stop and think. I hadn’t written on this blog in a long time … but maybe I needed to. Maybe this was work that needed doing, too… and maybe I needed to do it as unto the Lord. It certainly takes away a lot of the excuses for not writing (having nothing to say, not having time, not wanting to) if I’m doing it for the Lord, and not for men or even for myself. So here I am, to write a new post for the first time in a long time.
Earlier I mentioned vacuuming and, silly as it may seem, that’s the topic of my post today. I came up with a lovely vacuuming analogy last Saturday, but never wrote it. (I’d like to say its been percolating in the back of my mind all week, because percolating is a great word, but it’s not true.) So here it is:
I vacuum every Saturday (well, nearly every Saturday). I vacuum the downstairs, and my sister vacuums the upstairs. And I do it for three reasons:
- To get the dust and dirt. I have four younger siblings. We have nine chickens. And everyone in my family has at least one pair of rain boots that they sometimes forget to take off when coming inside. Our house gets dirty. My mom sweeps the kitchen almost every day, but the mess just keep coming back. Part of us living in the house is the house getting dirty… dirt on the hardwood, crumbs on the carpet, and (my little brother’s favorite) kinetic sand basically everywhere. It is necessary to vacuum on a regular basis to make the house livable, because as long as we live here, the mess will keep trying to come back.
- To get the spiders. A little more than two years ago, we moved out to the “country.” We have a lot more trees around our house, and that means a lot more spiders. While we’re not overrun by them, and are very thankful for the walls that separate us from the spiders’ domain, they sometimes sneak in and make a cozy home in that dark corner we never go in. And that’s another reason it’s important for me to vacuum. It’s my job to make sure none of the little creatures get comfy behind the bookcase. Confession: I don’t like sucking up spiders. It just seems cruel, doing that to the gross little things while they’re still alive. But it needs to be done…
- Because my mom told me to. This is probably the biggest reason I vacuum every week. Scratch that. This is the only reason I vacuum every week. It’s the extra push that makes it so it’s not only a good idea to vacuum, but a matter of obedience. So I do. And even though sometimes its “unpleasant”, the house and I are better for it in the end.
You may be asking yourself, “Why did she just give me a run-down of all the reasons she vacuums?” Well, I am actually not crazy (despite what my sister may say). I do have a good reason.
Vacuuming strikes me as being a lot like confession of sin. It’s like cleaning out our soul. It’s
sometimes always unpleasant, but so, so necessary. As I like to say, confession is good for the soul but bad for the stomach. There are reasons that we confess, and they look a lot like the reasons that I vacuum:
- To confess the daily sin. This is the evil thought, the unkind word, the prideful look, the rude action, the selfish mindset… all the things we’re guilty of on a daily basis. It’s a lot like the dust and dirt that accumulates every day. Sure it may not seem like a “big deal,” but to let all that accumulate would quickly become a problem. This is the stuff we need to deal with daily, bringing it to God in humility, asking for His forgiveness… and also confessing to the people we’ve wronged.
- To confess the deeper sin. You know, that sin that’s been in the back of your mind for a decade and you never told anyone? That skeleton in your closet? Or maybe just the sneaky deed from last month that you never brought out into the light? It all needs to come out. Think of it like a spider. It’s not bothering anyone, right? Then what’s the big deal? The truth is, unconfessed sin gets in the way of our relationship with God. Yes, Jesus already dealt with it on the cross, but we are also told to walk in the light. That means our hidden sin needs to come out of the darkness. After all, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13).
- And, last but not least, because God tells us to. There are lots of commands in the Bible to confess sin. Take, for example, James 5:16: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another…” It’s pretty obvious—this is what God wants us to do. And the great thing is, when we obey, there’s forgiveness. The Bible is very clear about that:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
What a promise! (More on forgiveness and justification tomorrow…)
I hope my little analogy has encouraged you. I’m beginning to realize that wherever God calls us to, there is always freedom… and confession (and repentance) is no different.
Anything to share? Feel free to comment about:
- Your Saturday chore(s)
- A verse that spoke to you today
- Something related to confession
- Anything else! 🙂