In the last few years of my mother’s life, there was no spring cleaning. She was having a hard time just maintaining herself, let alone a home. Furthermore, she didn’t really trust anyone else to come into her house to help either. Since I lived in a different state, it was not in the cards for me to assist from time to time. So when she died, there was a lot of clutter, accumulation of stuff, and dust everywhere. Likewise, in our spiritual lives, we can end up with clutter, accumulation of stuff, and dust if we don’t take the time to do spiritual spring cleaning.
What is the purpose of spring cleaning?
The purpose of spring cleaning is to create a clutter-free, sanitary, and relaxing atmosphere that lasts for a good portion of the year. For those who suffer from allergies, this deep cleaning removes many of the offending environmental triggers. For those who suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia, the removal of clutter and unnecessary stuff helps relax the mind. For those with pets, floors are restored to pre-pet days, clean enough for a baby to crawl on.
Spring cleaning is different than everyday, surface cleaning. This annual, almost ritual for many homes is much deeper and thorough. Closets are cleared out of things that have been stored and not used. Drawers are sorted and unnessary items are thrown out. Mirrors and windows are cleaned. Curtains and drapes are washed or dry cleaned. Rugs are shampooed. Floors are stripped sometimes and re-sealed with new wax.
What is spiritual spring cleaning?
Spiritual spring cleaning parallels the annual physical practice in many ways. So basically, we look for things that clutter our minds, take up space and time that would be better used elsewhere, and attitudes or actions that need cleaning up. Thus we evaluate and make decisions about our possessions, activities, commitments, and our relationship with God.
Spiritual spring cleaning Bible verses
No, you will not find the words “spiritual spring cleaning” in any Bible verse, but you will find the concept throughout Scripture. God helps us clean up our lives, starting with attitudes and thoughts, which then progress to actions.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
In these verses, you see a lot of evaluation going on. This is similar to physical spring cleaning where you make decisions about what needs to be cleaned, how it will be cleaned, and what needs to be thrown out.
The writers of these verses were looking at their attitudes (spirit), thoughts, words, Scripture reading, and a desire to remain in the center of God’s will through confession of sin. This is the essence of spiritual spring cleaning.
Spiritual spring cleaning check list
I don’t know about you, but I like checklists. It keeps me from trying to wing activities on my own and helps prevent forgetting something important.
We need to take inventory of our possessions that take up much of our time. This might be a recreation vehicle, musical instrument, hobby, or a host of other things. Then ask:
- Are they essential or non-essential?
- Do they take away time from God or encourage me to engage with God?
- Is fellowship with other Christians hindered or enhanced?
- Will they benefit the kingdom of God in any way?
- Are they keeping my body, the temple of God, in good health or not? (physically or emotionally)
- Do they fit in with God’s current plan for my life?
- Is owning them strictly forbidden by Scripture? (these would be anything related to divination, communicating with the dead, modern day idols, etc.)
Not all possessions are bad. Some make it possible to maintain good physical and mental health. Others give us an avenue to serve others. But we must be careful that we don’t exceed a healthy balance. Something good can become bad when we don’t exercise self-control.
Our Activities and Committments
We need to take inventory of our activities and commitments that take up much of our time. This might be volunteering for an organization, involvement in church work, helping at our child’s school, a hobby, or many other things. Then we need to ask all the same questions listed under possessions.
And, as in the case of possessions, something good can become bad if we don’t exercise self-control. Balance is important.
Our relationship with God
When you get down to priorities, this is the most important aspect of our lives. Apart from a relationship with God through Jesus, we will eventually be floundering and unable to maintain a healthy life balance. This is because as humans, we are prone to indulge in ways that are not helpful and eventually lead us away from God. Consequently, we need to ask some important questions about our relationship with Him when we are doing spiritual spring cleaning.
Sin to confess? (examples)
- I have a grumbling spirit
- I need to forgive someone
- I am having trouble being grateful
- God is asking me to do something that I am resisting
Time reading God’s word
- I read my Bible every day
- I have a plan for Bible reading
- I am memorizing Bible verses
- I share what God is teaching me
- I ask God to help me love Scripture
Prayer is important to me
- I pray every day
- My prayer time includes praise and gratitude
- Confession is part of my prayer time
- I keep a record of God’s answers to my prayers
- Others are on my prayer list, not just myself
- I ask God to give me His desires
My relationship with God is growing
- I talk to God throughout the day, not just when I get in a bind
- I acknowledge the beauty of creation to God
- When I am having trouble doing something I ask God to help me
- I listen to music that praises God
- The books I choose to read honor God
- I spend time with others who love Jesus
Do you know Jesus personally? If not, spiritual spring cleaning will be impossible to do. You may have questions about this most important relationship. To help you find answers, you can speak to the people at Chat About Jesus. You can call, text, or chat with them anytime. Someone is there waiting to talk to you.
Final thoughts and a gift
Just like many people engage in deep house cleaning activities each spring, it is important to take a look at our lives and periodically do spiritual spring cleaning. Both the physical and spiritual practices of spring cleaning are to de-clutter, rid ourselves of unnecessary stuff, and clean thoroughly. These activities leave us with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Since spiritual spring cleaning is important, I have prepared a free 3-page checklist and additional resource page to assist you in doing this activity. No email is required. It is in black and white, or in color.
You might also like to read: