A clean floor is elusive. A floor’s state of clean is temporary at best; debris continuously settles upon it and the occupants of the house track over it. A clean floor might be achieved through hard work but it must be maintained through due diligence with dustpan and bucket. Even with such discipline as the ideal housekeeper might wield there comes a day when that floor must once again be dealt with vigorously with brush and broom. Why is it only through human effort that we can keep our homes in a state of order? Why is it that no matter the level of order the occupant desires the home itself desires to revert to chaos and disarray?
Having just cleaned my floor I am made aware of my own lack of discipline in its upkeep. My white grout is now brown and the corners where floor meets baseboard are filled with grime and debris. Had I been more diligent from the start, had I treated this floor with care and respect, I could have kept it fresh and clean. I could have kept it in its pure state- if I really cared for purity. Had I appreciated the gift that it was, presented with perfection (as far as floors go), I could have, should have, regularly maintained it with sweepings, moppings, scrubbings, coatings, and polishings. But in my arrogance I presumed that it could always be won back whenever I chose to pursue it. I learned quickly that purity lost cannot be regained, it is gone forever; what is worse it was gone at my own hand.
I wonder at my continued disregard for the purity of my own life. For disregard it must be, continuing to be at ease with a sin nature that remains in me. I read that one who is born of God does not sin and I read that sin must not be my master but that I must master it. How contented I must seem to Him, how little it must appear that I care. I have not crucified my flesh, I have not struggled to the point of shedding blood; I barely break a sweat in the cleansing of my soul. And yet, He who has no sin in Him became sin for me, that I might live in Him. Given that kind of fresh start, with that kind of purity granted me, is it not enough motivation to work toward keeping pure? What would it take to realize this, to own it in my heart and to change from arrogance and presumption to humility and fear?
I had a dream that I was preparing furiously for a visit from my Master. As I went through the house from top to bottom, emptying cupboards, wiping shelves, eliminating clutter from all of it’s points of collection, I began to plan the hospitality I might show Him. I knew only one thing; that I wanted to show my best and I wanted to offer Him that best. I even dared to consider that He might be interested in seeing all that I have been doing in His name. I wanted to discuss with Him my service to Him through the church and at work, my efforts at raising my children to follow His path, and my concerted attempts at structuring my life to the pattern of scripture and the law of love. He came as I was finishing up all that was on my list; He simply arrived and was waiting at the door. That He would only knock and wait was troubling, after all this is the Lord, He owns this place, He reigns over this place, He does not need to wait- but He did.
“Master,” I cried, “Come in, come in, please sit down and let me get you something,” I went on and on stumbling over words but genuine, I thought. He interrupted me midstream with a piercing look that stilled my heart and sealed my lips.
“Why won’t you obey my commandments?” He asked.
I had read those words many times. But I had always clung to my understanding of the sin nature as allowing sin to remain in the believer’s life. My sin, my disobedience does not keep me from loving Him, does it? I do abide in the Father don’t I, even though I sin?
I asked Him to help me understand and He began to tell me about myself. He did not talk of my work for Him, or of efforts with my family, or even of my victories over certain sins. He instead talked of the purity of a newborn babe and the abomination it would be to abuse or despoil such a creation in the slightest of ways. He showed me myself at the point of my rebirth and the joy of my resurrection with Him to new life. He showed me also the suffering He endured on my behalf so that I might not die but live forever. He paused at this point and looked around at the furniture and floors that I had so painstakingly polished.
“Why won’t you obey my commandments?”
He began to list, item by item, specific failures of mine to live up to the gift He had given me. His eyes grew sorrowful: lust, pride, selfishness. Sin after sin, the list went on and on, and as He spoke I saw appearing on the surface of His clothing growing spots of blood. He began to clench and release His fists and I saw blood seeping from wounds there as well. He clutched at His side as the flesh ripped open and a torrent of blood and water burst forth. He continued to speak, but as He wiped his eyes they grew heavy and tired and He stopped. He had reached His end, He was finished. I looked away in shame and horror at what I had done.
Who must I be to have done this? Who am I now? Who might I be?
Since you gave me a nice review on my latest submission, I wanted to read your work and I found "A Clean Floor." All through the read, I kept thinking of GRACE, and the words of C.S. Lewis, "Relying on God has to begin all over again everyday as if nothing had yet been done." His grace is sufficient for all my disobedience as long as we are humble to confess and work on "cleaning out" our dingy corners of our lives. Live in Grace, my friend, it will reflect back off your shiny clean floor for others to see a reflection of Christ! Your writing was humble and a powerful statement that we can never be good enough or "clean enough." His blood already took care of that. Thank you. Coleene