Set Your House in Order

Photo by Marchand Meffre
Occasionally when I’m about to get a ride somewhere, my driver will apologize for having extra junk in the car. Usually I reply in jest, “I’m not from Good Carkeeping and so your secret is safe with me.” I’ll make similar comments if I walk into a house and my host is apologetic for it not being spotless. Certainly I’m not a neat freak but do recognize the importance of being organized. Sometimes I’ve allowed my bedroom to become messy but always feel good inside after things are put in their proper place.

Contrary to popular belief, the phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness” is not in the Bible. Nevertheless, there is some truth to that statement. 1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” This verse can apply to other areas of life besides church meetings. I heard one pastor point out the condition of our home is often a reflection of our spiritual life.

It reminds me of the time I was invited to stay in a country house that was very filthy. Despite the homeowner being an evangelist, many of the other residents were smokers and drinkers. I opted to sleep in an abandoned trailer nearby. Soon people noticed a moldy smell on me. Meanwhile, much gossip and other ungodly activities occurred on the property. I felt relieved when a door opened for me to move someplace else. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace...”

We serve a God of order. Genesis 1:2 says, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” The Hebrew word for “without form” is tohu, which is also defined as “confusion” and “place of chaos.” This was due to Lucifer’s rebellion. Then God spoke creation into existence. Until man allowed sin to enter in, the earth was a perfect paradise. The order of this universe is evidence there is a creator.

Even the secular world recognizes the importance of being organized. Television and radio host Larry King once said, “Getting your house in order and reducing the confusion gives you more control over your life. Personal organization somehow releases or frees you to operate more effectively.”

Not being organized affects the lives of others. In both 2 Kings 20:1 and Isaiah 38:10, King Hezekiah was commanded by the Lord to “set your house in order” for he was about to die (Hezekiah’s life was ultimately extended fifteen years). Sometimes I’ve had to wait around for people wasting time looking for misplaced items like car keys hidden in an untidy home.

Now if this is an area you’ve struggled with, one suggestion I can offer is downsizing. Instead of being a pack rat, it’s better to dispose of extra stuff not being used. One night at a Jerry Savelle meeting, he led the congregation to give away things other people needed. I got blessed with an electronic keyboard that enabled me to resume creating music. Later when I needed to downsize again, I gave the keyboard to my dad since he often talked of getting one.

Over the years I’ve taken part in garage sales and placed Craigslist ads to generate extra money. Most of the time though I donate stuff to individuals or Christian organizations like the Salvation Army. Things are more valuable in the spiritual realm as a seed.

Cathy Lechner once wrote a book titled “I'm Trying to Sit at His Feet, But Who's Going to Cook Dinner?” We shouldn’t be like Martha who was so focused on accomplishing things that she neglected spending time with Jesus like her sister Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Nevertheless, it’s possible to keep a neat orderly home while maintaining an intimate relationship with the Lord.

Most Christians wouldn’t think of having their churches in disrepair. Would you want Jesus to walk into your house if it’s in disarray?

“for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” - 1 Timothy 3:5

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