Clean House: Know

Clean House: Know

Today, we’re continuing our new message series entitled, “Clean House.”  In it, we’re learning how to do some spiritual spring cleaning in our lives so that we can live them to their fullest without all of the clutter that weighs us down and trips us up.

Last week, we learned a bit about what sin is and just how desperately we need a healthy relationship with the Holy Spirit.  It’s only through this active relationship that we can avoid sin and fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.  We want to avoid indulging in the flesh.  As we learned, this sets up a command center in our lives from which the devil wages war against us.  This goes far further than we realize!

This morning, God wants to shift our thinking about sin a bit more.  We typically think of sin being to do what God tells us not to do.  Therefore, if the Bible does not explicitly tell us not to do something, we’re not sure whether it is right or wrong for us and are more likely to do it.  If the Bible doesn’t explicitly call something out as sin, then we use that as justification for His approval to do it.

Our flesh is always looking for loopholes to enable us to do whatever we want and yet also make us feel like we’re still in right standing with God.  Our flesh tempts us to find that line between sin and righteousness and dwell there. 

The Spirit is always looking to give us a full and abundant life and to lead us far from sin.  The Spirit wants us to dwell within His safe refuge.

Going back to what sin is, God doesn’t define for us all of the countless ways that we can miss His target.  Instead, He makes clear to us His plans and purposes; that bullseye.  When we understand God’s purpose for something, we then are aware that using something for a purpose other than which it was created by God for is sin.

Craftsman designed and created a flat screwdriver for the purpose of tightening and loosing flat head screws.  When I use it as a pry bar or chisel, I’m likely to bend or break it.  Why?  Because it was not created for those purposes.  I sin against it.  Not only may it be damaged, but I just might damage myself doing it, too!  It was uniquely designed and intentionally created for that purpose.

God has a design and purpose for communication.

God has a design and purpose for friendship.

God has a design and purpose for music.

God has a design and purpose for marriage

God has a design and purpose for sex.

God has a design and purpose for work.

God has a design and purpose for education.

God has a design and purpose for everything.

Nothing that God does is accidental or a surprise to Him.

One of the first house cleaning tasks is to recognize what is in need of cleaning.  What is dirty?  What is out of place?  What needs thrown out?  What needs to be brought in?

What areas of my life are affected by sin and need to be cleansed or renewed?

When we know and understand God’s design and purpose for our lives, we can quickly identify anything that is not in agreement with them.

To recognize these things, we need to get to know God and His design and purpose for them and where they belong in our lives.  A fire is a wonderful thing in our fireplace on a cold winter night.  A fire is an unnecessary and irritating thing in our fireplace on a hot summer day.  A fire is a horrifying thing in the middle of the living room floor at any time!

For everything, there is a proper time and a season and a purpose.  To get things out of order when it comes to times and seasons or to misunderstand the purpose of things is to sin; to miss the mark.

Now is the season for tilling and fertilizing and planting.  If you do all of that and then you wake up tomorrow and believe that it’s time to harvest and uproot, well, you’re going to sin by doing it.  All of your work will be for nothing.  That season will come, but tomorrow is not the time.

How do we recognize what time and season we are in?  How do we recognize what is dirty in our lives spiritually that needs cleansed?  How do we recognize what is out of place in our priorities that needs organized?  How do we recognize what things to let go of and what things to gather in our lives?

Psalm 119:9-16

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?

    By living according to your word.

10 I seek you with all my heart;

    do not let me stray from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart

    that I might not sin against you.

12 Praise be to you, Lord;

    teach me your decrees.

13 With my lips I recount

    all the laws that come from your mouth.

14 I rejoice in following your statutes

    as one rejoices in great riches.

15 I meditate on your precepts

    and consider your ways.

16 I delight in your decrees;

    I will not neglect your word.

God has given us His word so that we might not sin against Him.  His word teaches us His precepts and His ways.  It reveals His purpose for everything in this life.  Notice that we are not just to read and to know God’s word.  Yes, it begins there.  However, we are to hide it not in our minds, but in our hearts.

It is said that many people will miss Heaven by 18″.  The distance between their head and their heart.  They have knowledge about God, but they have never allowed that knowledge to transform their hearts.  Sadly, many more will miss Heaven because they don’t value God’s word and neglect to even put knowledge of it in their minds.

In order to know what a clean house of a life looks like, we go to the designer and creator of it; the Lord.  Psalm 139 teaches us that we are fearfully and wonderfully and purposefully made by God, Himself.  He alone knows all that we are now and all that we were created to be.  He can show us what is out of order and how to get things right.

We all need to hide God’s word in our hearts and then with ALL of our heart, to seek Him.  God’s word is a light to our path so that when we are faced with decisions every day, we will know which choice to make.  We will be able to walk confidently with the Lord because we are seeking Him.  Because we are seeking Him, we will hear his voice telling us, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Knowing God through a personal relationship helps us to know who we are in Him.  It emboldens us to say, “Yes.” to some things and the wisdom to say “No.” to others.  We understand our strengths and weaknesses and our own limitations so that we can dwell safely within them.

Knowing God keeps us from sinning; from missing our purpose.

Knowing God who fully knows us.

Knowing who we were created to be.

Knowing the purpose for which we were designed.

These are what keep us from sinning against God, against others, and even against our own selves.  Knowing these is what kept Jesus focused and free of sin as well.  That is what equipped Him to resist and refute the devil’s temptation.  This is what emboldened Him to rebuke Peter when Satan was using him to tempt Jesus to avoid His upcoming death.

Jesus knew and often spoke out who He was.

Jesus knew and often spoke out the purpose for which He came.

Jesus held firmly to His identity as a son; the Son of God and the Son of Man.  If we’ve received Jesus’ free gift of salvation, then we also are children of God.  We have been adopted into His family.  More important than any other role that we can fulfill, we are first and foremost children of God and we have an amazing Heavenly Father!

It’s important that we find our identity in who we are and not what we do.  After all, every one of the gifts of the Spirit that equip us to do great things are meaningless in Heaven.  All will know everything.  There will be no sickness or disease.  There will be no death.  There will be no lack or need.  There will be no demons or bondage.

We must find our identity first and foremost in who we are and not what we do.  After we realize who we are, then we move on to our purpose and what we are designed and created to do.  This results from who we are.

Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets.  Jesus came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.  Jesus came to give us abundant and eternal life.  Jesus came to bring fire on the earth.  Jesus came to bring light into the darkness.  Jesus came to reveal the Kingdom of Heaven.  Jesus came to do the Father’s will.

Jesus often spoke these things out so that there would be no confusion or doubt about who He was and why He came to the earth.

How often do we verbally speak out who we are?

How often do we verbally speak out our purpose?

If Jesus needed to do it as a reminder to either Himself or those around Him, how much more do we need these reminders to keep us from sin?

Knowing God’s word and knowing Him through relationship enables us to know and to understand His design and purpose for all things and helps us to avoid sin.  It equips us to live fulfilling and abundant lives as we live them out as they were intended to be lived.

Knowing who we are in Christ enables us to understand who we are and who we are not.

Knowing who we are in Christ enables us to understand our purpose for life.

Knowing that we have been uniquely created and gifted for a purpose gives us boldness in the way that we live.

Knowing who we are gives us confidence in Christ and frees us from fear.

We don’t need to memorize some long list of “thou shall nots” to define sin.  We simply need to know who we are and what our purpose is and what purpose things serve in our lives.  Whatever falls outside of God’s intended design and purpose is sin; missing the mark.

In fact, Jesus summarized the entire law and prophets of the Old Testament into two simple things that we are to do.

Matthew 22:34-40

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all of your strength.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Instead of memorizing what all we are not supposed to do, we memorize two simple things that we are to do.  If we get those right, then we will automatically avoid all of the things that we are not to do.

Especially in ‘Merica, we love our freedom and rights.  In Christ, we’re even more free than the freedom given to us from our government.  However, not everything that we are free to do is good or beneficial to do.  Again, it goes back to purpose. 

God even gives us the freedom to sin; we get to choose! 

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

In order for us to recognize sin as sin and begin to clean house spiritually in our lives, we must first understand God’s design and purpose for our lives.  Then, whatever doesn’t fulfill them either needs cleaned up or thrown out.

To help with this process, here are two guides.  The first are scriptures that reveal who we are in Christ.  The second is an article to help us to discover our unique, God-given purpose.  Knowing these two things will help us to clean house and live a fulfilling and abundant life!