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