My kitchen is a mess. The school year has barely begun and there’s papers and projects and water bottles (why are there always water bottles?) and various other items strewn about. My counters are covered in half bags of chips and snack boxes and containers and spices and other little odds and ends. Let’s not tour the laundry room or living room; they’re also disasters.
Despite our efforts, we can’t seem to stay ahead of the mess life throws at us. We clean up a little here, the mess grows elsewhere. We clean up a little elsewhere, the mess grows here. It’s an endless cycle. I’m so glad God didn’t say the road to Heaven was a clean house; I’d be doomed. He did have something to say about cleanliness though. We need to cleanse from the inside first (Matthew 23:26) by confessing our sins (1 John 1:9) to be rid of all unrighteousness.
The Pharisees of those days when Jesus literally walked among us were strict about what food went into their mouths, but they were missing the point. Yes, God did instruct what foods should and shouldn’t be eaten because He knew what contained disease and what was healthy. Jesus, however, pointed out that it’s what comes out, not what goes in, that makes a person clean (Matthew 15:11).
Imagine if all the diet and exercise fads were focused on prayer and worship instead? The South Beach became the Good Samaritan, focused on helping others outside your community instead of avoiding carbs. Atkins became Adoration, focused on the Body of Christ, not eating meat. Exercises like arm raising and kneeling were shared and drew crowds of people young and old, each rejoicing as they increased their length of time from previous events.
Okay, that’s not happening, not on this earth, not in this age, but perhaps the thought could change our perspective. We could ask ourselves, is my soul as messy as my kitchen? My head may be filled with the world’s mess, my family’s mess, my mess, but is my heart consumed by this? Should I go on a prayer diet? This doesn’t mean restricting prayer, but living it out more fully, consuming prayerful moments for longer and more frequently. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to ignore the physical mess, but perhaps by cleaning the inside first, the outside would be easier to handle.
What if we thought more about what came out than what goes in? What if we thought more about what’s in our hearts than what’s on the tables and counters and shelves? God isn’t one more thing to schedule, the Rosary isn’t one more piece of clutter, and the Bible isn’t one more item taking up space. The way to Heaven is free (John 3:16) and living that belief out doesn’t take up any space. If anything, it frees up quite a bit.