A household “spring cleaning” allows you to clean the dust and dirt that hides away in unnoticed spots – behind the refrigerator, on top of the kitchen cabinets, or under the beds. We can ignore those hidden spots, but that doesn’t make the dust go away.
The same is true of the dust and dirt in our hearts, minds, and souls. Although we receive complete forgiveness and salvation as soon as we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we need to continually recognize, confess, and repent of our sin. At the Last Supper, Jesus tells his disciples “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” (John 13:10) Are you washing your feet? Are you catching and removing the dusty sin crouching unnoticed in your heart?
Finding the hidden spots of sin
First, we must understand what we mean by “sin.” In a recent blogpost, well-known pastor, author, and speaker Tim Keller describes sin this way:
“Sin isnʼt only doing bad things; it’s more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.”
This gives us a good place to begin in our spiritual spring cleaning: identifying the things that we build our life on, and questioning if it really, truly, and only is Jesus Christ.
Questions to pray through
If you’re willing to pray through some hard questions, the Holy Spirit will “guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13) You’ll likely find encouragement in some areas where God is already acting in your life. And you are also likely to find yourself challenged and convicted by the areas that He’d like to work on next. This is not an easy process… but neither is moving your refrigerator so you can sweep behind it each spring. It may be hard, but it is good, healthy, and God-honoring.
Here are seven questions you can pray through this spring, for your spiritual spring cleaning:
- What is the first thing you do each day when you wake up? Pray about why this is your “go to” activity each day. What meaning does it hold for you?
- Identify the things or situations that create strong emotion for you – what stresses you out, makes you cry, gets you worried, or pushes your buttons? Strong emotion is a sign that something is important to you. Why is that “thing” so important?
- Review your time spent with God. Do you genuinely love and desire spending time in God’s Word, in prayer, and being still with God? Is this a “check-the-box” activity or a special relationship-building time?
- Consider your gut reactions to common occurrences in life. Do you have to bite your tongue regularly when your kids start arguing with each other? Maybe you feel guilty every time your pastor announces a new mission trip, or jealous when your friend posts pictures of her family on social media. Pray about why you react this way. What is buried in your heart, impacting your reaction?
- What are you most excited about each day? What gets your heart racing, distracts your thoughts, and makes you smile? Are there good things in your life that might be getting too much attention, priority, or on which you are relying a little too much? Thank God for these good things, and ask Him to remain first priority in your life.
- Review your media intake. What technology are you using? What websites are you visiting? What about television shows, music, movies, magazines, blogs, and social media? What app do you just have to check every few hours (or maybe more often)? Media is hugely influential on how we think, what we believe, and how we engage with other people. Consider the amount of time, the content you’re absorbing, and the impact on your soul.
- How do you define your identity? What words come to mind first? We all fill multiple roles in life, but our first and most central identity should be as Christians, as Christ-followers. Do any roles or identities come to mind before your identity as a Christian?