You find out that you have company coming in about an hour and the house is a wreck. You were tired, so you left the coffee and dessert dishes in the sink instead of whipping up another sink full of suds at 10 pm the night before, and have only added to them with the breakfast dishes. You did the laundry yesterday, but there were so many errands to run, they are sitting in the basket or hanging from hangers on every doorknob available so the wrinkles will fall out. The garden is coming in so you have left the weekly tub scrubbing, vacuuming, and dusting until some day soon when you are no longer standing in a hot, steamy kitchen for ten hours a day, and the canning supplies litter the kitchen counters, floors, and even the family room sofa. And did anyone make his bed this morning? If they are all male, probably not!
So what do you do? I usually grab another laundry basket and rush through the house throwing everything that is out of place in it, then put it on the guest room bed and shut the door. Spray some bleach solution (that I always have mixed and ready to use) into the showers, as much for the clean smell as anything else, and pull the shower curtains shut. Run a cloth over everything big and obvious (like the grand piano in the living room), and hope no one over six feet tall stands by the top shelves and the refrigerator. Light every good smelling candle in the house and hope that’s enough to cover any other “not quite clean” house smell. Run a sink full of soapy water and at least pile everything into it. With canning jars sitting around cooling, it will look like you’ve been hard at work (and you really have), and are in the midst of cleaning it up. At least you will get points for that!
I have probably fooled a lot of people that way, or else they were just polite. But when it comes to spiritual house cleaning, just getting the outside isn’t enough. Oh, we might fool some people who don’t really know us very well, but Jesus says By their fruits you shall know them, Matt 7:16, so eventually we will give ourselves away if our righteousness is only cosmetic. Just imagine how much God knows--everything! The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good, Prov 15:3.
Cleaning the outside is not good enough for Jehovah. It only counts when we clean up our hearts. Then, funny thing, the outside takes care of itself.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within are full of extortion and excess. You blind Pharisees, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside may become clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy and iniquity, Matt 23:25-28.
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