October 13, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Jesus Style

Yes, the closet cleaning frenzy continued in these parts. After successfully installing new closet organizers in my own closet, I turned my efforts (and my cordless drill) to my husband’s closet. He was out of town for a week and at the suggestion of my friend Sue J., I thought I’d surprise him with a brand new “clothes management system.” Even though Dan said he was perfectly content with his closet as it was, I knew how much better it could be. *grin*

Some wives “manage” their husband’s clothes, washing, ironing, putting them away and even packing for trips. I, however, am not that kind of wife so it felt a little odd to sort through Dan's closet. (I hoped he wouldn't be mad at the "invasion.") I proceeded with love and for several days painted, installed shelves and racks, bagged discarded clothes and re-organized/re-hung the closet’s contents. With everything back in place, I admired a job well done. Thankfully when Dan returned home, he agreed. Whew!

My daughter felt inspired by all this and asked me to help her redo her closet. We stripped her closet bare, paired down its contents, re-purposed available storage bins and in a few hours finished her closet transformation!

I can’t tell you how liberating it is to have such neat, functional and orderly closets. Each of us can easily find what we’re looking for. We’re wearing clothes we’d thought we lost in the chaos. And just looking into my closet makes me feel ten pounds lighter!

All this emptying, purging and reorganizing got me thinking about Jesus.

Doesn’t He want us to do the same in our own lives? Jesus said, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)

I look at the “closets” in my life and see I’m hesitant to submit to such a massive undoing. Sure I might seek His help to:

  • Discard a bag of habits.
  • Organize a shelf of quiet time.
  • Purge a basket of brokenness.
  • Rearrange a nook of busyness.
  • Clear out a corner of bitterness.

But in the end, I let go and hold tightly as I choose. Offering some but not all. What holds me back? My need for control? Fear? Disbelief? Self-sufficiency?

And unlike my taking over Dan’s closet, Jesus is a gentleman. He doesn’t force His way in. He waits for the invitation.

In My Heart – Christ’s Home, Robert Boyd Munger writes an allegorical tale about a man who slowly invites Jesus into the respectable rooms of His home. But when Jesus shows up at the door one day and asks to see a locked upstairs closet because it reeks, the man feels Jesus has gone too far. He wants to keep those rotten remnants of his old life. He's angry and wonders why Jesus can't be satisfied with the access He already has. To confront the closet with Jesus is more than he can bear. But as Jesus turns to leave, the man reluctantly gives in.

“I'll give You the key,” I said sadly, “but You will have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven’t the strength to do it.”

“Just give me the key,” He said. “Authorize me to take care of that closet and I will.”

With trembling fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it, walked over to the door, opened it, entered, took out all the putrefying stuff and threw it away. Then He cleaned the closet and painted it. It was done in a moment’s time. Oh, what victory and release!

“Lord, is there any chance that You would take over the management of the whole house and operate it for me as You did that closet?”

His face lit up as He replied, “That is what I want to do. You cannot be a victorious Christian in your own strength. Let me do it through you and for you. But,” He added slowly, “I have no authority to proceed, since the property is not mine.”

Dropping to my knees, I said, “Lord, You have been a guest and I have been the host. From now on I am going to be the servant. You are going to be the owner and Master.”

Lord, I'm tired of trying to organize my life on my own. I give you the key. I want an extreme makeover: Jesus style. Empty me. Fill me. With You. Amen.

Empty Me by Jeremy Camp


Dan said...

Hmmmm...where's my Kansas World Tour '79 t-shirt? Wait, you don't suppose she...


Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, Wow, what a powerful post, and here I thought I was just getting a boost to do some house cleaning. Talk about HOUSE cleaning! I need to be reminded of this often. Handing over All of me for cleaning isn't easy, but oh, so necessary!

Thanks for this reminder!

Analisa said...

Awesome post and I needed this reminder.

Move out of the ways so that God can have his way.

PS-Is Dan's Kansas T shirt really dust in the wind? LOL

Bellawhoop said...

I'm slowly learning the joys of being a "homemaker" and what that means. What a great reminder that I should also take joy in cleaning out myself! Love your blog! Just found it yesterday. :)

Saleslady371 said...

You spoke right to my heart with Munger's book. It was given to me several years ago by a very precious girlfriend who died 2 years ago. Yes, we can't clean ourselves up alone; I want the makover Jesus gives.

Cheryl Barker said...

Great post, Kelli -- wonderful analogy. I want to always give my all to Him, but there are times when fear tries to hold me back. I'm sure it's the enemy at work, trying to trip me up any way He can. But what freedom in opening it all to Him!

By the way, I manage Don's clothes for him. He wouldn't have anything to wear if it wasn't for me :) And packing? Forget it :)

Sue J. said...

Since Analisa took my line, I have to resort to this one: "Carry on, my wayward son. There'll be peace when she is done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don't you cry no more....."

What I found most interesting was the emphasis on Jesus needing the "authority" to step into our lives and to work. Too often, I think He's just going to see my situation and rescue me at some point. Acting in faith doesn't just mean believing that Jesus will do something, it means giving Him the authority to take control--my belief and using my freewill to choose Him, consistently and always!

I need to embrace this today, because I sense my passion becoming passive.

Truth4thejourney said...

Hi Kelli,

Great post! I loved the analogy and the fact that you have persevered and cleaned out the closets. We all need a closet re-do from time to time.

God Bless,
Sonya Lee