Clean Out the Closet!

When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same any more. A new life has begun! –2 Corinthians 5:17 TLB

I knew I was overdue to clean out my clothes closet when I tried on three outfits for church one Sunday morning and none of them would do.

My wardrobe included three pairs of polyester slacks I’d worn nearly every week for ten years (I exaggerate not) and were coming apart at the seams, missing buttons at the waist, and were way too baggy since I’d lost some weight. My sweaters were fuzzbally, nearly transparent in places, or had shrunk in the wash. Most of my skirts, blouses, and dresses were tired and lifeless and looked like I felt. And most everything was way outdated.

Over the years, I’d added a piece or two to my wardrobe here and there, but, instead of removing anything to make room in my four-foot-wide closet, I simply shoved the old stuff back where it was hard to reach. My dresser drawers weren’t much better. I had to iron anything before I wore it.

Finally I decided it was time. No more hanging on to stuff in case I lost weight or in case I’d want to wear it someday. No more “fat” and “skinny” wardrobes.

My tastes were changing, too. Instead of prints (usually flowers), I wanted solids in shades that complimented my coloring and in styles that complimented my body shape.

So after a daylong shopping trip and another daylong closet-cleaning session, I had fifty empty hangers, two empty dresser drawers, a healthy donation for Goodwill, and an equally healthy donation for the garbage man—and a feeling of being set free.

Every time I wear one of my new outfits, I feel like a new woman, lighter and happier than I’ve felt in years. Amazing how hanging on to useless old things can bog us down.

We do the same spiritually, don’t we? Those old sins are hard to let go because we have a hard time believing we are truly forgiven and so we refuse to forget. We won’t forgive ourselves, so we carry around a load of guilt, thinking this is our penance.

Is that what God does? No!

When we asked for His forgiveness and accepted His Son, we were changed inside. Not patched up, like a garment that needs mending. We were born again (John 3:16), given new life—His life in us. We became not fixed-up versions of our old selves, but brand new persons!

We were washed completely clean (1 John 1:9). All our sin-stain was bleached out entirely by the Son, and our hearts are now as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:2,7). All the garbage of sin and guilt was flung as far from us as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and God remembers it no more (Jeremiah 31:34).

So why do we? Perhaps because we feel unworthy? But God considered us worthy enough to send His Son to die in our place and open the way to Heaven.

So, Christian, clean out your closet and toss the fuzzbally attitudes, oversized guilt, outdated shame. Don your new clothes—clothes as clean, fresh, and new as a spring morning—clothes that will make you feel like a new person—because, Child of God, you really are.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Amen. (Psalm 51:10,12)

Read and reflect on Matthew 9:14–17.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Image 600-02377761 © Lisa Brdar

A Piece of the Rock

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 7:24 NLT

When my husband woke up one Sunday morning a few years ago with his left arm numb, our life together suddenly took a different perspective. Especially when the numbness settled in his fingers on both hands and in his right foot. Uncertainty crept into our schedules just as sure as the doctors’ appointments and a plethora of medical tests.

Possible causes swirled through my mind. I spent hours online, searching WebMD and other sites, seeking understanding, trying to prepare myself for the worst.

Would he be able to continue to drive truck? Should we start thinking about another line of work? But then, what can you do when you lose the use of your fingers?

Just three months earlier I’d quit my full-time job, with its regular, although meager, paycheck. My freelance work brought in enough to help pay the bills, but that depended on how much work I contracted and when I received payment. So far, we’d been able to pay the bills on time.

I hadn’t been worried about the finances because I believed the One who called me into full-time writing was faithful, and I trusted He’d provide for all our needs (1 Thessalonians 5:24, Philippians 4:19). I also knew if Dean couldn’t work anymore, God would send enough work my way that I’d be able to support us both.

I was more concerned about losing my life’s companion. With the kids grown up and gone, we’d gotten closer. I loved the stage of life we were in. Now the dreams of growing old together were suddenly threatened. But I had no real fear, no doubt, no anxiety. I slept well.

I was feeling pretty proud of my spiritual maturity when God dropped a bombshell: “You thought it was a leap of faith when you quit your job and trusted Me to provide. But would you still trust Me if your husband’s paycheck were gone?”

My faith hadn’t really been put to the test when I quit my job. I still had Dean, he still had his job, and the paychecks were still coming in. As long as I had those, faith talk was easy. Take all that away, and would I be able to walk my talk?

What can we place our security in these days? Certainly not in jobs. In insurance policies? They don’t prevent misfortune; they only promise to provide for our needs in the event something happens. A good credit rating? Identity theft can shoot that overnight. A healthy bank account, investments? A sudden, catastrophic accident or illness, or an extended stay in a skilled care facility can eat those up quickly. Real estate? A house? A fire can destroy in a few minutes what we’ve spent a lifetime building.

Where, then, can we find true, rock-solid security? The Bible tells us, over and over: In God and in God alone. “The LORD is my rock,” (Psalms 18:2, 19:4, 92:15; Isaiah 26:4; Deuteronomy 32:4).

I have a piece of the Rock. Do you?

Thank you, Lord, that You are the Rock upon which I build my life. Thank You that I’m no longer building on sand. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 7:24–27.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.