Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

A Lesson on Holiness From a Vacuum Cleaner...

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 01 November 2006

Finding balance” seems to be a popular buzzword these days. Experts tell us that if we can just figure out what and how much to do of each thing we want and need to do, our lives will be wonderful. The longer I live, the more I think, “Hogwash!” If I lived a balanced life, I’d spend about 29 seconds on each of about 3000 things I have to do each day. I walk a tightrope as it is just keeping up with all the laundry. Fortunately for me, my well brought-up husband helps out a lot. To that end, as a married woman, I have never emptied a vacuum cleaner! I hate vacuuming. Mark does it and he empties that little plastic urn on our Hoover Bagless and I haven’t a clue what the machine sucks off our floors. And I don’t care.

But last week, Mark’s brother stayed overnight with us and I took it upon myself to lug the vacuum upstairs to the guest room and do the task. Then I emptied the thing. Shock and disgust washed over me when I saw with my own eyes all the appalling stuff that had snuck into our carpet uninvited. Besides dirt and crumbs and ladybugs and pine needles, our vacuum picks up raisins (I think they were raisins) and cheerios and dried cheese and dog hair and ponytail holders and tiny car parts from little cars and who knows what else.

Thanks to my reliable husband, the Goossen household – for the most part --stays clean from sundry floor dirt. But it occurred to me that keeping our home in a state of godly holiness requires daily diligence too. Psalm 93:5 describes God’s house: “holiness adorns your house for endless days.” Shouldn’t our homes also reflect holiness? God commands us “…be holy, because I am holy…” (Leviticus 11:44). In the Old Testament, the priests were told, “You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean…” (Leviticus 10:10). I know what you’re thinking. These verses apply within the Old Testament Law. Okay, yes. But, twice in I Peter we are told that we are a “holy priesthood.” (I Peter 1:16 and I Peter 2:9). As a Christian I have to ask myself, “What is common or unholy in my home? What has snuck in that God considers appalling?”

Then I got one of those e-mails that instructed me to forward it on to x-number of people if I was not ashamed of my faith. (You know, the www. version of the old-fashion chain letter.) I did not forward it but I did peruse it and found these questions:

● Would my favorite outfit be modest enough to wear to the door to invite Jesus into my home?
● If Jesus were sitting with me, would I read this book or magazine?
● Could I invite Jesus to watch my favorite afternoon television show and watch it guilt free?
● Would I want to share my popcorn with Jesus as I watched the latest video release?

Even though our answers might differ to what we believe is appropriate for our own homes, we do need to be diligent about spiritual housekeeping

Here’s a good guideline worth posting on the ‘fridge:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” -Philippians 4:8

The Apostle Paul’s words here can help us determine what needs to stay and what needs to go in our homes.

I remembered watching a movie on television when I was single. I rather enjoyed it. It was a comedy, it starred an actor I particularly liked, and it had a tender ending. I laughed. I cried. And I went to work the following day jibber-jabbering all about it. So (several years later and now married), I decided to rent the movie and share the amusement with Mark. As we began watching the movie, the vulgarity and language shocked me. I realized only then that network television had edited the profanity out of the movie. It was not honorable, right, pure, or of good repute. Unknowingly, I had brought “spiritual dirt” into my home. It felt uneasy, embarrassing and unholy.

The word holiness scares most people. Holiness is seen as an extreme condition of not doing a list of forbidden things. When I was growing up, it meant no movies, no dancing, no card playing… In truth, that’s not what holiness is at all! Jesus put tremendous emphasis on holiness. He was holy and he called his followers to be holy. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus declared, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Being pure in heart does not mean we are free from impure thoughts, or that we avoid everything in the world that might possibly be perceived as unholy. Good grief, we’d have to live in a cave. Being pure in heart means our hearts are not divided. This is the very point Jesus makes in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Holiness means having a single focus, an undivided loyalty, an unbalanced perspective.

Finding balance when it comes to housework is one thing. To that end: Women, tell your husbands that Pastor Mark vacuums regularly! (I can live with that kind of balance!) But when it comes to the spiritual maintenance of our homes, balance is not what we’re called to as Christians. Being biased and single minded is a good thing here. Look up single-minded in a thesaurus and remember: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee…” - Isaiah 26:3

- Esthermay Bentley-Goossen
(This article originally appeared in Windows - The monthly church-news & ministry newsletter of Crane Community Chapel.)

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