Jesus said, “Whoever isn’t with me is against me, and whoever doesn’t gather with me, scatters. When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders through dry places looking for a place to rest. But it doesn’t find any. Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house cleaned up and decorated. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself. They go in and make their home there. That person is worse off at the end than at the beginning.” Luke 11:23-26
I was vacuuming the house yesterday, and my mind started to wonder back to a time when our girls were small and still wanted to help with the housework. (That was a very short window of time, by the way!) Each of our three daughters had a chore to complete, and while I do not remember each task, I do remember that our oldest child begged to run the vacuum cleaner. Needless to say, I was very willing to give up that duty, and so, Jackie excitedly began the adventure of vacuuming.
I watched with amusement as our “Little Susie Homemaker” carefully went around every little piece of lint and paper lying on the floor. Back and forth she went, singing as she worked, making certain the vacuum cleaner did not run over the slightest piece of debris along her path. She had to truly struggle to maneuver that big machine around all those small fragments of trash; working much harder than if she would have just let the machine run over and suck up those little pieces of rubble. Finally, when she was finished, she turned off the vacuum, beaming at me with such a sense of accomplishment, so proud of her effort. I made sure to praise her for all her hard work, but then I asked her why she left behind all those little pieces of trash. “Oh,” she replied, “I was afraid I would break the vacuum cleaner if I let it pick up all that dirt!”
This story reminds me of how we are sometimes, as Christians. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, likened our hearts to the rooms of a house. There are some of us, that when we ask God to forgive us of our sins, only let God clean certain rooms of our lives, or we ask God to forgive certain transgressions, but not others. It is as if we want God to scoot around some of the trash in our lives, because we are not ready to give them up just yet. There may be certain habits and pleasures that we do not want to relinquish to him. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that those particular acts are not sinful, or that they are not hurting anyone; therefore, we can continue committing them without consequence. These are lies told to us by the adversary. We read in John 8:44, “Your father is the devil…He has never stood for the truth, because there’s no truth in him. Whenever that liar speaks, he speaks according to his own nature, because he’s a liar and the father of liars.”
After I explained to our daughter that the vacuum cleaner’s job was to pick up ALL the little pieces of trash on the rug, she volunteered to run the machine back over the carpet, picking up what she left behind. Likewise, God yearns for us to let Jesus deep clean every room of our heart, making sure to get into the tiniest nooks and crannies, where we have hidden our secret sins. That is why God gave us God’s only Son, “to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong” (1 John 1:9).
Won’t you let Jesus pick up every little piece of trash in your life today? God Bless.