My house while I write this post. I am not wearing make-up. My son is watching a movie.
As Christian women I think we would enjoy life a lot more if we stopped living like cleanliness is next to godliness. It is not in the Bible, yet the proverb seems to have taken hold as scripture.
I have read many books, blogs, and articles about Christian living for women and it is maddening to me now how much focus there is on cleaning. Now being a homemaker does require a certain amount of effort in this area since it is loving to our families and others to not make them live in a pile of filth. But the degree to which it is taken I cannot see Jesus supporting–having everything perfectly organized and dusted. “There was something different about those people. Did you notice how clean there house was Bob? I want to know more about that Jesus.” said no one ever.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
I contend that we are spending way too much time on this and it is hurting the church. This “law” is creating anxious and defeated women who don’t have people over, excercise their gifts, or rest enough because they are pushing themselves trying live up to non-biblical standards. (Or am I the only one?)
How many people are out there lonely and hurting and would love to sit at your table with dry oatmeal stuck to it (I have seen that at other homes) and eat a bowl of soup. If you have to take the time to project the perfect Christian wife image, how often can you muster up the energy for hospitality? Your home should be a tool to be used up, not a museum to elevate your pride. I don’t want to offer up my perfectly clean house when I die. If it is all going to burn then why become obsessed with perfecting it? It is like sanding firewood for your burn pile!
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
What if you were using that time and your gifts to love people? If you are striving in vain to get the house clean before you start it will never happen, especially if you have
mess machines children. You would not be reading this blog post if my house had to be clean before I could write it! Whether you are an artist of some type, a builder, a good listener, you could be using that gift to increase others’ joy (and your own!) Write them songs, make them art, fix their car. Let them trash your house and eat your food, ruin your budget! Take them out to coffee even though there are dishes in the sink and the laundry is unfolded. (It is clean and you are just going to unfold it anyway. I mean is really wise to fold it?). Or take nap so you can be patient with your children and avoid the nuthouse.
When you open your imperfect life this way two responses can happen: The first is that people will judge you calling you a lazy, undisciplined, slob and ask people to pray for your family. (Oh well, good thing Jesus makes me great!) The second, and most likely, is that they will feel comfortable being in a home much like their own and they will feel better about being real with you.
Imagine what would happen if we let go of the bondage of the fear of man and replaced it with the freedom to love God and others as directed by the Spirit. The gospel would be proclaimed, people would be loved, and God would be glorified. If we stopped striving for an image, we could have a godly mess that could change the world. Like Christ on the cross.
All this to say, I know there are some people who love cleaning and have lots of energy to maintain a pretty immaculate house. There is no law against that either! You can even serve people by cleaning and organizing their home for them! Yay! Where things go wrong is when we decide that a godly woman=clean house because Jesus makes you godly, not your vacuum.