Our season of Teshuva is drawing to a close, after much soul-searching and house-cleaning of a different sort. We have, as a family, spent much time clearing the air, cleaning spiritual and relational slates through repentance. Those longstanding, nagging little things that haunt our spirits, weigh us down and beg to be brought into the light have been our focus - those 'little sins', never confessed, that hinder our joy in the Lord. Time alone does not make all things new again. Through writing letters, making phone calls, and having long heart-to-heart talks, we have sought and extended forgiveness, and, in the process, found restoration. The decluttering is done.
The question that arises now, is how to keep the decluttering done. We have made extensive new policies in our home to keep physical clutter from coming back in, but how do we keep spiritual and relational clutter from finding it's way back? Life happens...sinners collide, and offenses are a natural result. This forty day season of repentance has been rich for us, and, after this, our first year of observing it, we are unanimous in our desire to do it again. It was profitable for us to spend forty days focusing on getting right with our Father and our fellow man. However, I personally do not wish to have thirty-plus years of baggage to have to clear out again. My desire is to put a stake in the ground...right here...right now...and resolve to keep things current.
The answer for me comes in keeping short accounts.
There were several things that I had to make right that were small issues ~ things that I did not feel quite right about at the moment of occurrence, but had allowed to 'slide' instead of confessing and asking forgiveness immediately. Contemplating the wasted energy I spent thinking about these minor offenses over the years makes me ill. I have heard it said that the Holy Spirit will speak to you in a whisper, or, if you ignore Him, will eventually throw a brick at you. That you have a choice...obey the whisper or wait for the brick. I haven't meditated much on the theological aspect of that , or whether it is accurate, but it certainly is motivating. Looking back, I am painfully aware that I should have heeded the whisper.
Keeping short accounts is all about heeding the whisper. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, my place is to immediately confess and repent. Whether I am angry, lazy, prideful or selfish, I need to confess the instant I am aware of the sin ~ the instant the Holy Spirit whispers. I have to force myself to drop everything ~ right that minute ~ and ask forgiveness. It is the best method I have ever used for my part in putting my own sin to death. It is also the most humbling, which I suspect is the reason it works so well.
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives" 1John 1:8-10.
Just as surely as we cannot cleanse ourselves, Yeshua can. So the order of the day, today, as every day, is a walk of obedient trust...heeding His voice, obeying His commands, and trusting in His cleansing.
Because it is so good to be clean.