Keeping a clean and tidy home [Avoiding Legalism - Part 3 of 4]

Okay.  First we talked about my journey to valuing a clean and tidy home.  Then we talked about why it even matters.  So after all of that holy stuff, some may be wondering...
"Isn't that kind of legalistic?"
Images of a 1950's housewife might be flooding your brain.  You might even be re-living a particular experience you had over at a "clean" house where you felt un-welcome and couldn't touch anything.


Yes, keeping a clean and tidy house might become legalistic and even an idol.

Like all good things that God intends for us, when we make good things ultimate things (things worth sinning for), they no longer honor God.  It all comes down to our HEARTS.

  • If your heart is to control your environment through cleaning because you love that feeling of having everything perfect...
  • If your heart is to maintain your "stuff" to a level that makes people uncomfortable because you value it more than your relationships...
  • If you feel horrible condemnation about yourself for leaving some dishes out and not having freshly mopped floors...
  • If you refuse to entertain people at your house because you might have a dust bunny or two...
  • If cleaning takes up so much time and energy that you are no longer caring for your husband or children as you should...
  • If you like the compliments you get on a freshly cleaned house and enjoy impressing friends and family...

Then you might have the right behavior on the outside, but your heart isn't right on the inside.

We only bring glory to Him in our actions when we stop doing things in our own strength and let him work through us to be light to others.  We keep a clean and tidy house not because we have lots of extra time and energy that we are just dying to use on laundry, but because He helps us.  He gives us grace, expands our time and energy, and gives us resources we didn't know we had.  Then, cleaning the house becomes a testimony about God.  It points to Him and how He is able to work in us to do things that we can't do ourselves.  It shows others that we aren't perfect homemakers, but we have a God who we love that helps us follow him down the path of righteousness.

And that is one goal of a disciple of Christ.  Pointing people to Jesus.  The arrow in this case just happens to be a clean and tidy space.

But let's talk for a minute about another question...are there times when it is NOT wise to spend a lot of time keeping a clean and tidy house?  Ladies, we are not super-woman types; able to work full-time, raise good children, have romance with the husband, enjoy thriving friendships, keep our slim physique, maintain important ministry involvement AND keep a tidy home.  Something has to give!

There are life circumstances that might prevent us from keeping a clean and tidy home for a season, and once again, we must look at our HEARTS to determine when this might be.  For instance...

Maybe you have something that physically prevents you from cleaning...
Maybe you are experiencing first trimester pregnancy exhaustion...
Maybe you are sick or you are caring for a sick family member...
Maybe you just had a baby or just experienced a major life transition...
Maybe you just lost someone you love...
Maybe you truly have your hands full with commitments that God has called you to be faithful to...

I don't know all of those seasons, but I have been through many of them (and I'm in one right now!).  When those times hit, we must find our identity in Christ and know that it's not our homemaking skills that define who we are.  Don't let condemnation creep in, because it doesn't belong in the Christian woman's heart.  You are no less of a daughter of God because you can't keep up with your house at the moment.

It's okay to not have it all together.  If we did, we wouldn't need Jesus.

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