How do you clean a messy house? For that matter, let's make it simple, how to you clean a messy garage? More specific, my garage? It seems every year at this time I am faced with the same task: cleaning the garage. I have no idea how it gets in this mess but there it is, in all its glory. Obviously it is a matter of picking one spot and starting. Obvious to you and me but for some people it is far too overwhelming so they just close the door and pretend it doesn't exist.
Children have the same problem with their bedrooms. It isn't that they don't want to clean, they just don't know how to start. They get overwhelmed and they end up playing with the stuff instead of putting it away. It requires an adult to come along and help them in the process. Parents should never expect great results if they simply say "Go clean your room". It is always better to have the attitude, "Let's tackle this mess together". Praise the Lord, it is what Jesus does for us.
A lot of us have pretty messed up lives, especially spiritually. It is such a mess it is overwhelming and we don't know where to start. When we get the conviction that Jesus wants to do something with the mess, we often want to do everything at once. We don't understand that it is a growing process, one step at a time. We conquer one thing and then add to it as we get stronger and better organized.
Recently I found myself in a mess. I got involved with some projects that were taking 16 hours of my day. What little time I had left I spent on my family, eating and sleeping. Many of my spiritual disciplines started dropping off to the point that I couldn't even find the energy to read my Bible. And I am a pastor. Shame on me for letting my mess get so big. Thankfully Jesus never let's us stay in that condition for long.
After some consultation with the Lord and a strong word of direction from the Spirit, I resigned from the projects and focused on my purpose and calling. At first it was like walking into my garage and being overwhelmed by everything that needed to be done. But the Spirit calmly told me, pick one spot and start there. This verse is the spot that brought conviction so I started there:
"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8
So I started getting up early to read the Word and I made it my priority that it would be the last thing for my eyes at night. I read the Bible in three months, refreshing myself in the one thing that has always sustained me. This provoked my conviction of prayer so I was brought back to my knees. This led to memorizing the Word, then to meditation on the Word, then incredible moments of worship and heart changing deep meditation. It has led to a great sensitivity to the Spirit, renewed power, greater revelation, increased relationships, deeper love, and it goes on.
But it started in one place, doing one thing in faith, under the conviction of the Spirit, longing to see Jesus' face. Slowly, patiently, all those spiritual disciplines are coming back into place, stronger than ever before.
Things get pretty messed up but they don't need to stay that way. It can be overwhelming but it doesn't need to be paralyzing. There may be a lot you want renewed but it can't happen all at once. It starts with one place. It starts with one act. It starts with one prayer. All that matters to Jesus is that it starts.