I am amazed at how much work it takes to keep things clean-
right now I am sweeping my floors…again. I have to. I have to sweep it daily- most the time, I have to sweep it multiple times in a day. after every meal that I cook, after the kids play outside, after the kids go to school and there is a fighting chance for order and cleanliness!
But it’s not just sweeping. It’s also washing and vacuuming and dusting and remaking beds and scrubbing tubs and toilets and countertops. They just keep getting dirty! And that is only the inside of the house- we haven’t even begun the outside work of the lawn and the weeds and the pruning.
It is not by accident that we have this perpetual pattern of cleanliness and order and then an unraveling of that beauty.
Our physical lives teach us spiritual truths- In this life, the fall is at work and we have to push back the unraveling. I am reminded while I sweep that I have to work to make things clear in conversations, we have to work to keep our bodies healthy, we have to work to be disciplined to read God’s word and spend time in prayer. Those are efforts. And are necessary to prosper emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Why are we surprised in any of these areas if there is unraveling and we have to work to put them back in order?
These things won’t come easily- they are marred by the effects of the fall. Family life isn’t easy. Raising kids isn’t easy. Church isn’t easy. Learning isn’t easy. Exercise isn’t easy. Growth isn’t easy. There is a push going on. A push to undo the order, a push to complicate the easy, a push to unravel the beautiful.
But the effort is worth it. Just like I love my house when it is clean, we will love our relationships when we do the hard work of refining our communication. Just like I benefit physically from great exercise, my relationship with the Lord will flourish if I put the time into the means of grace that He has given us: His word, prayer, fellowship with believers, church, the Lord’s Supper, and praise.
There’s a popular children’s book that is called Going on A Bear Hunt. In that book as the characters meet a variety of difficult conditions (mud, snow, wind) there is a refrain that says You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you’ve got to go through it. And the characters slosh through the mud or they power through the wind. All to get to the bear that they are searching for on their bear hunt.
That’s how growth in these areas is- you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you can’t skip around it, you can’t ignore it. You’ve got to go through it. Stumble, trip, stumble, trip.Stumble, trip.