It has taken two months of staring at myself in the ever-reflecting eyes of my family to realize that I am not a changed person. I do still believe that I am a born-again believer of Christ the King, but...
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. ... Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock ... And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house: and it fell: and great was the fall of it. -Matthew 7: 18-21, 24, 26-27
I once heard an analogy about accepting Christ. Revelation 3:20- "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." The idea is that by accepting Christ, we invite Him into to the foyer of our house. Often times, when I have a guest come over, there are "forbidden rooms" that are just not presentable for strangers to view, and I leave them closed off for the duration of the visit. Sometimes I do a good job of avoiding that space and I forget that it even exists. With my Lord standing in my doorway, I scurry about trying to clean up so that I might invite Him further into the house, but it is slow going and I find myself simply moving my trash from one room of the house to the other. My Lord stops me and reminds me that I have invited Him in and He, and only He, has the power to actually remove the accumulated junk from my front room. I submit and sacrifice a portion of my life to Him and under His direction, remove the things that are in the way, but I still haven't given Him complete access...after all, who wants to see the back of my bathroom cabinets!!! I feel like a new person because my front room is clean and we settle down to have a nice chat. But, my Lord is soon thirsty and asks to dine with me. I panic, of course, because I haven't done the dishes is a while and doubt highly that there is a clean cup with which to drink from, nor is there a single thing worthy of serving to my Lord in my cabinets. But, in time, I remember that just as the Lord cleared out my front room, surely He's able to clear out my kitchen too and I surrender to His commands and care. So we go through the rest of the house, all of the bedrooms and bathrooms...except that one...my personal "dungeon" with all of my personal accumulated junk. My Lord offers, but I decline, thinking that it would be too embarrassing or too hard to parade my junk in front of His nose. So, being a gracious Lord, me pretending the room doesn't exist, my Lord waiting for me to acknowledge its presence. The rooms begins to stink and the stench of my own filth begins to infiltrate the house. The odor is so repugnant to my Lord that He is no longer comfortable in the back of the house and retreats to the front room. The smell continues to spread and suddenly my Lord tells me that He is going to go stand in the doorway until I am ready. All of those hours I have spent cleaning the rest of my house are for naught because my filth has spread even into my clean rooms. The Lord reminds me that He is ready and able to show me how to clean that last room, but I stubbornly refuse and pretend not to notice the smell. I pride myself on the appearance of my clean house, so shiny and tidy but I am still careful not to invite anyone else over, for surely they would smell it and no longer see the clean surfaces. One day, as I step out of the shower and glance at myself in the mirror, I can barely recognize myself, for I am covered in grime. On my knees I crawl to the door and beg my Lord to save me, again, to come in, again, and clean me, again, and this time, to take over my entire house, so there is never a doubt who reigns. My Lord helps me up and as we walk to the back of the house, I notice the stench begin to dissipate. We reach the door and my Lord tells me that if I can just opened it sooner to Him, it would have been much easier to clean, but now the stuff has begun to decay and fester and though the process is going to take longer, my Lord reassures me that He is capable of removing all my filth, but I need to show it to Him and I need to remove it from my house, forever. This I do and my Lord and I have constant fellowship, for nothing is hidden from Him. When I am tempted to bring home some extra junk, my Lord reminds me of how easily a little junk will soon overtake me, pushing Him out of the way, and I obey and life is sweet.
I am sure that you can see some parallels between my story and my life. I am confident that I have invited the Lord into my house, but I am not sure how much of my house I have made available to Him. I know that I frequently ignore His voice asking me to clean out a part of my life, in fact, I've become quite good at it. I think that's what this move has done for me, open my eyes to my own filth and the realization that without God's help, I won't ever get clean and though I might feel like a Christian, my actions betray me and I am undone.