How Do You Clean House?

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Some of the ancient cliff-dwellers of Arizona had an interesting way of cleaning house. The smoke of their fires filled their old stone dwellings and covered their walls with a black layer of soot. When this became intolerable they did not wash or scrape it off, but calmly went to work and plastered over it a fresh white coat of a kind of mortar, one above the other—eleven layers of mortar—eleven housecleaning days, no one knows how many years apart.
We smile, but those who live in precisely such houses should not throw stones.
I do not mean to say that we clean house in just this way, (though it is possible to find houses where there may be four or five layers of wallpaper, one over the other). What I do refer to is the way many of us clean house in our own souls.
How we shrink from facing the dirt—the sin—within us! It seems so much easier to whitewash ourselves just as we are. So the whitewash is made up, a smooth blend of morality and respectability and self-righteousness, and it leaves the soul outwardly a fine bright white. But scratch it anywhere and—ugh! the black underneath!
Someday, in the white light of the holiness of God, all this whitewash will peel off and such soul-rooms will be seen to be pitch black—nothing but black—and black forever.
When God says, "Wash ye, make you clean" (Isa. 1:1616Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; (Isaiah 1:16)), He does not mean a little cosmetic polishing up of outward appearances nor a little more socially acceptable behavior. God desires "truth in the inward parts," but, "who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" Prov. 20:99Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? (Proverbs 20:9).
David, the writer of the Psalms, knew the only way to be cleansed from his sins. He prayed: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness: according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.... Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.... Create in me a clean heart, O God." Psa. 51:1, 2, 7, 101<<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba.>> Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:1‑2)
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)
10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
.
Cleansed from sin—whiter than snow—a clean heart—no whitewash there! Cleansed from sin—how?
It is only through faith in His blood that was shed on Calvary's cross that we can be washed and clean and fit for the presence of God. No effort of our own can make us so, but believing and receiving His cleansing makes us "clean every whit."
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isa. 1:1818Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18).