Spring is very definitely here. Everywhere you look there are signs of the once dormant earth stretching and waking up; daffodils, cherry blossoms, and once bare trees are now blushing with a new green.
It’s a time that we throw open those windows and let our homes once again breathe. Unfortunately the very act of throwing open those windows and shades highlights the “damages” that winter has wrought, and dust and grime that was once overlooked now has become apparent. Ugh. Hence the time honoured tradition of the Spring Clean.
I think spring cleaning was actually God’s idea. No, seriously. Not because cleanliness is next to godliness...though that is good. No, I think it was God’s idea because every spring there is Passover, and in the days prior to the celebration the Mamas and ladies of the house would clean their home from top to bottom to rid it of yeast and other things that are forbidden to the holiday. Passover requires unleavened bread and that can’t happen until ALL vestiges of yeast have been eradicated from the home.
Here’s the thing about baking bread (yeah we’re going to go there for just brief minute): the yeast used, once activated, doesn’t stay with the dough. It ends up permeating the kitchen and from there, the home. Yeast is an active organism and the more bread you make, the more yeast will colonize its environment. This is not necessarily a bad thing and when it comes to bread making it is actually a good thing and can only make your endeavour to make bread easier, especially if you’re using a starter.
We need to take a good look at things and see what is good and what is not so good, and determine what is going to stay and what isn’t.
That being said, there are times that yeast can be a bad thing: just ask any baby that has had thrush, or someone who ended up with a yeast infection of any kind. No fun.
In our lives we have things that kind of act like yeast, and can permeate all different areas of our homes, work places, thoughts, etc; both good and bad.
Jesus said “beware the yeast of the Pharisees” (Matthew 16:6). He knew, as well as his disciples, what yeast acted like and what had to happen for a home to be yeast free. They knew that every year, every nook and cranny of a good Jewish home was cleaned prior to Passover and it was a big job that was approached systematically and thoroughly.
We need to do the same things with the things that are leavening us, our homes, our families. We need to take a good look at things and see what is good and what is not so good, and determine what is going to stay and what isn’t.
What is leavening your work place? Gossip or Wisdom? What are you leavening your children or your spouse with? Is there love and patience, or is there harsh words and intolerance? Is there grace, or is there neglect? Are we speaking life, or are we empowering a little bit of death?
James 1:21 says “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts for it has the power to save your souls”
The Apostle Paul points us to how we are to act and speak by giving us a list of characteristics that we should aim for: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Gal 5:22-23). These make up the good yeast that we should encourage to colonize our lives and our homes. Things like jealousy, hostility, selfish ambition, dissension, division, etc, are the bad yeast that we need to make every effort to clean out of our life-cupboards and by extension our homes and even our work places.
So friend, shall we start with our own spring clean? It sounds big and daunting, but if we approach it systematically, thoroughly, and with the help of God and other likeminded people we can not only positively affect the health of our hearts and minds but also the environment and atmosphere around us.