A while back we were having up to 50 people over at our house downstairs in the family room for a time of fellowship and ministry. Of course, I was working really hard to have a clean house.
I had the men in my family help me take a bunch of little used work-out equipment out of the basement and carry it up to our three season porch, and move the pool table to a different spot. We also rearranged the sectional couch to accommodate all the chairs we would need to set up.
At the time, we were also in the process of replacing our kitchen/dining room carpet (it was there from when we bought the house well over 10 years ago) to hardwood floors. Before putting in the new floors, we took out some cupboards that separated the kitchen area from the dining area and moved them against the dining room wall. So this meant all the “stuff” in the cupboards had to come out, and when it went back in, everything had to be rearranged to make it functional for the new set-up.
The question became just how much work do I put into cleaning and making the house “presentable”? My plan included making time to clear out the back basement area that some people might see if they use the downstairs bathroom.
Then I had to ask myself why? Do I really not want people to see that we actually live in our house and that we use our basement to pile up stuff we are storing until we decide to find a place for it or to get rid of it?
I can’t help but think of the parallel when it comes to what we try to hide in our lives. As Christians, we have a hard time letting those in the body of Christ see the real us, so we clean things up on the outside, and hide what is really going on in our lives, especially if we think it shows we don’t have things all together like a “good” Christian should.
Why do we seem to believe that if we have Christ in our lives, everything is supposed to be great, and if it isn’t, it must be our fault? Jesus, Himself, told us we would have tribulation. He said He would never leave us or forsake us. We are told to come to His throne boldly to obtain grace in the time of trouble. Paul, himself, went through a long list of trials and tribulations (such as being shipwrecked and being beaten (and left for dead) more than once.
Life is messy. We live in a fallen sinful world, and there are plenty of times we get caught in the fall-out. Why do we try so hard to hide it from each other? How can we share our burdens with each other and weep with those who weep, if we don’t take off the masks and let anyone around us know we are hurting because of… well, life?
We need each other. Let’s stop trying to pretend like everything is in perfect order in our lives, if it isn’t. I am not encouraging complaining and gossip. But what I am encouraging is not hiding behind a false pretense thinking you can’t let anyone know you are being affected by the “stuff” life throws at us.
Satan wants us isolated. If he can’t do it to us physically, he will try to do it to us emotionally. If we live our lives pretending to be someone we aren’t, or live in a way that causes people to believe we have no real problems in our lives, it is like my trying to clean up my house to hide the fact that we actually live in our house, and if you come over, you might see some messes.
Let’s stop hiding our messes and come clean with the fact we all have “stuff” we are dealing with. We are all working out our salvation, and in the process of becoming who God wants us to be. And that’s okay.
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