Sunday, November 6, 2011

You're as far away as you allow yourself to be

"We all stumble in many ways"
James 3:2

One of the ways in which I am very, very blessed is my home.  We have a house in a very nice area of town, that I would say is just exactly the right size for us.  Not too big, and not too small.  And when I say it's not too small, I mean that literally.  It's a very delicate balance.  Everything has to go exactly where it goes, or something else is going to be thrown out of place.  Like every year when we bring in the Christmas tree.  Gets a little crowded in the living room, and things have to be rearranged.  And this summer we were given a hand-me-down piano.  So that should make the whole "Christmas Tree Shuffle" even more interesting.  But we'll figure it out!  And we'll be able to sing Christmas carols around the piano this year!  As soon as one of us learns how to play a Christmas carol....

Another thing that can be tricky is having friends over for dinner, which we did last night.  We don't have enough chairs at our table, so we had to bring in the desk chairs from the kids' rooms.  And we had to push the chair in the family room closer to the TV, to allow for enough room to walk between that and the dining room chairs.  You know the kind of thing I mean, right?  I'm sure it's similar at your house.

But we loved having them over.  We had tacos, and pie for dessert, and a lot of laughter.  And after they left, Hubby and I had that pleasant feeling of:  "Well, that was nice wasn't it?"

And I love getting up the morning after any kind of party or gathering.  There's still dishes to do, and a few pieces of furniture to return to their normal places, but the house is clean in unusual ways.  Baseboards are clean, fingerprints are wiped off the door jambs, etc.  Not that that kind of stuff only gets done when company is coming, but that's probably the only time it's all done at once, ya know?   So I got out of bed eager to do the rest of the dishes, knowing that's all it would take to get the house back to awesome.

It was a nice feeling, knowing I only had a little work to do to get things back to perfect.  And I thought: wouldn't it be nice if my life was like that?  If I were doing so well, that I only had to tweak one flaw or weakness, and then I'd be perfect?

I think this is what people mean when they refer to "keeping a short account with God".   "Keeping a short account" is, shockingly, an accounting term.  (Didn't see that coming, did you?)  It refers to not letting an account become extended; keeping it paid up.  The way to do that is to pay off debt soon after it becomes incurred.  The housekeeping equivalent to this is not letting dust, clutter, or fingerprints get out of hand; bringing my home back to a state of "perfect" (or as close to it as possible on a flawed earth) as soon as I can after it gets dirty.

And the spiritual equivalent is found in Leviticus 5:5, "when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned."  The key words there are, "when anyone becomes aware".  Reading Scripture is going to help us recognize sin, and prayer helps us to see it in ourselves.  Psalm 26:2 says, "Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and my mind."  The result of His examination will, without fail, be... well, fail.  Go ahead; try it right now.  I'll do it too.

What did He tell you?  Mine was a sin of disobedience, committed less than ten minutes ago.  Not huge, but a kind of disobedience I'm prone to, so I'm not surprised He's pointing it out to me.  Now I can agree with Him, and ask Him to help me to keep from doing it the next time.

Keeping a short account with God doesn't mean we'll achieve perfection, but it does mean we'll be closer to it than we would otherwise.  And doing it on a regular basis will mean we won't have as far to go next time we try to get back to where we're supposed to be.

~ "In repentance and rest is your salvation; 
in quietness and trust is your strength" ~
Isaiah 30:15

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