Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The gospel and cleaning out the playroom

I am procrastinating.

Cleaning out the playroom is on my to-do list for the day and I don't want to do it. In fact, I dread it. Many years of junk crammed into closet and corner and I must clean up and clear out and it will take work and none of it will be particularly fun nor rewarding.

I'm a wimp.

I struggle because, well, it's a rainy and dreary day for one, perfect for a good book and cup of coffee and not much else. Also, after years of accumulation, what's one more day? Or two? Or a week? Or two? Yes, I realize this is the sort of mindset that has gotten me into such a position. A week or two can so easily turn into a year or two and then some, as is painfully obvious by a mere cursory glance in the playroom closet. An organized homemaker, I am not.

It is difficult, sometimes, to navigate the tension between what I want to do (or, not) and what I should do (or, not). All of life ought not be cleaning out closets (and if one would clean out said closets more regularly...). And, yet, all of life ought not be self indulgent laziness either. To borrow terminology from Ecclesiastes, there is a time for closets and there is a time for a good book, both tasks undertaken with the joy of the Lord who grants us work and pleasure for His glory.

I'm grateful for the freedom of the gospel. Because I am saved only by grace through faith and not by works, I am free! I cannot earn or merit God's favor, certainly not by my industrious closet cleaning. Nor can I un-earn His favor by forsaking my duties and responsibilities and spending the day immersed in the pages of a really good book. It's all grace. All Jesus. All His work, none of mine. His righteousness, none of mine (I have none). Grace, grace, God's grace.

This is scary for recovering legalists like myself. I like to think--or I think I like to think--that my worth is somehow tied to what I do because then I enjoy some measure of control and I like control! I also like the sense of superiority (and martyrdom) that I can affect upon tackling such unpleasant tasks like organizing closets or scrubbing the bathroom or cleaning out the fridge. Oh, such self-denial!

The gospel of grace shuts up such pretensions. I'm not good because my pantry is perfectly arranged by food group (it's not, by the way). I'm not better because I stay at home or because I read the Bible through last year or choose-your-standard-of-worth.

What we do matters. Obedience is crucial. But, as I read last night in Jared Wilson's Gospel Wakefulness, doing springs from being. We think being is born of doing: what I do (or don't) defines who I am. Rather, because of the freedom we who believe have in Christ, who I am motivates and inspires and fuels what I do. I belong to Christ. I have been redeemed from my former way of life by the precious blood of Christ and because I have been bought with such a price it is my passion and desire to honor Him in all things. When my heart is awakened to grace and mercy I can clean out the playroom with joy because it is the Lord Jesus Christ I serve. And I can enjoy a really good book with gratitude because I rest in the finished work of Christ.

So, now, I clean. With joy.


6 comments:

  1. May I encourage you to turn the music really loud and go for the closet...

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  2. What a great post!! Only too well do I know how the "what's one more day?" closet clutter goes from a few days - to a few years! To honor my husband on our 10 yr anniversary, I am going through every room of the house, a 6-mo plan. Unfortunately, I somehow missed 2 months and am now behind! This is great encouragement to me, how we can bring glory to our Lord in even the smallest (and least desirable) things we do!

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  3. Rachel LangstonMay 09, 2012 10:15 AM

    Love it! Even if it does remind me (like I could really forget) about all the closets in my house that need to be cleaned out. SO glad I'm not the only "recovering legalist" out there

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  4. Mocha with LindaMay 09, 2012 11:33 AM

    Wow. This is so good. I needed this. Legalism can be so deeply ingrained and such a struggle.

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  5. "I like to think--or I think I like to think--that my worth is somehow tied to what I do because then I enjoy some measure of control and I like control! I also like the sense of superiority (and martyrdom) that I can affect upon tackling such unpleasant tasks like organizing closets or scrubbing the bathroom or cleaning out the fridge. Oh, such self-denial!"

    DITTO, friend!

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  6. Recovering legalist. I like that! (Because I'm so with you.)

    Seriously, you should check out Keeping House . I think you would like it.)

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