Nate Roman of Marlborough, Massachusetts, came home from work one spring afternoon to discover someone had broken into his house. But this was no routine burglary, because nothing was missing. Instead, the intruder had cleaned Roman’s house top to bottom, spic and span. The rugs were vacuumed, the beds made, and the bathrooms scrubbed. Even the toilet paper was adorned with origami roses.
Roman called the police, but the evidence of the break-in had been—well, swept away. It was what you could call a clean crime scene. “It’s funny now, but didn’t feel funny at the time,” Roman said. “I kept the toilet paper roses as souvenirs.” He wondered if a cleaning crew had come to the wrong address. But if so, how did they get in? There was no good explanation for the incident. It remained a mystery.1
As you read this, you may be wondering how to get in touch with that particular intruder! But you don’t need an intruder to clean up your life. One of the wonderful surprises about committing your life to Christ is discovering His cleansing power. He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. When you open the door and invite Him in, He comes, as it were, with a broom and mop.
Jesus knows how to clean house. In the Gospels, He cleansed the temple (John 2:13–17), and the Bible constantly speaks of His cleansing power and His ability to purify His people.
Jesus is holy, pure, and sinless. As you grow in Him, He makes you increasingly like Him. As you progress in your Christian journey, you’ll develop an instinctive yearning for moral uprightness, for the need for your inner life to reflect Christ’s cleanliness of spirit. Put simply: we all need someone who can disinfect our hearts, clean up our habits, vacuum our values, sweep the dirt out of our minds, launder our motives, spruce up our attitudes, and tidy up our testimonies!
In his book Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World, Craig Groeschel wrote,
Several years after becoming a Christian, I reflected on all the parts of my life that God had changed. Rather than occasionally telling other people what I thought they wanted to hear—I believe that’s called lying—I allowed God to make me a person of truth. Instead of sharing the latest rumors about mutual friends with others—I think that’s called gossiping—I learned to hold my tongue.
One of the more stubborn stains in Craig’s life involved his movie-viewing habits, but the Lord gradually helped clean up those patterns too. Craig wrote, “It’s time to come clean . . . if you would love to detoxify your soul from guilt, fear, regret, and all the impurities that pollute your relationship with God.”2
When you receive Jesus Christ as Savior, you’re forgiven, made pure in God’s sight, and given eternal life; but you aren’t yet perfect. Growing in God’s holiness is a lifelong endeavor. It’s the process of godliness. But like all the qualities we’ve studied, it doesn’t happen to us passively. We have a part to play. The Bible says, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1 NIV).
Does that have a familiar ring to it? It’s similar to what Peter wrote in the great passage we’re studying, 2 Peter 1:3–11. Remember how the paragraph opens in verse 3? “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Notice that word. God has already given you everything you need for a godly life. But then Peter told us in verses 5 and 6 to add to our faith diligence, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and . . . godliness!
But before you accuse Peter of circular reasoning, remember our approach. God does His part, and with His help, you do yours. Your spiritual formation and growth are a joint exercise between you and Christ, with Him providing the multiplied grace. Your role is to diligently add the needed effort to grow in godliness.
David Jeremiah, Everything You Need: 8 Essential Steps to a Life of Confidence in the Promises of God (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2019).
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