Letting Go of the Old, Welcoming the New: A Spiritual Spring Cleaning Checklist

Letting Go of the Old, Welcoming the New: A Spiritual Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is here and I feel like cleaning and decluttering my home.

After helping my family clean out my grandmother’s house, I realized that my own home needed a thorough slimming down as I’d accumulated a lot of stuff over the years! I have plenty of old homeschool materials and years’ worth of records just in case anyone needed to ever see them. I also have coats and boots in every size imaginable. I have lots of blankets, sheets, and towels in case we ever need to set up an emergency hospital in our home or we lose heat and find ourselves having to dole out blankets for the entire neighborhood. Ahem, yeah. It’s time to purge my closets, but it’s hard to let it go if you think it may come in handy again someday.

Time to Let It Go

To change this mindset, I had to shift my thinking a bit and realize that each piece has served its intended purpose. 

My four mother-of-the-bride dresses? They served their purpose.

Books that I’ve read for specific seasons of life? They’ve given me the information (or enjoyment) I needed and now maybe they can serve someone else.

At one point a few years ago, my childhood church closed its doors and my mom and I and a few other members spent some time closing up shop and going through everything to either donate or throw away. We had piles and piles of garbage bags full of records, attendance books, coloring pages, church documents, and old photocopied lessons neatly arranged in file folders. It was years of work, notes, studies, and the fruit of faithfulness that had been hidden away in file cabinets. It felt almost criminal to throw it out. But I came to realize that it all served its purpose in God’s time and plan. God had used it, and by it had accomplished His will.

Spiritual spring cleaning is a wonderful way to take inventory of where you’ve been and how God has led you. It’s a perfect time to purge away or “put off” attitudes or actions that are hindering your spiritual walk. It’s a time to pick up and put on spiritual attitudes and disciplines that please Christ. 

Wearing attitudes and practicing sinful responses that God forbids no longer reflect your position in Christ. Not only are fleshly practices out of step with God’s revealed will for your life, but they are weighing you down, and harming your spiritual growth, they robbing you of the joy you could have now if you chose obedience today. 

Wearing those unrighteous works–the natural man we relied on to make life work for us before we were in Christ– is like choosing to wear dirty, ripped, stinky clothes when we have a wardrobe of new, bright, clean garments at our fingertips. They might feel like the comfortable or familiar or empowering choice in the moment but anything that dishonors God is not the right choice.

Maybe you’ve made great strides in your holiness, and you are amazed at how far you’ve come since you first believed, but if you are knowingly unyielding to even one command of God, if you know the truth but refuse to walk in the light of that truth, that cherished sin is giving you a spiritual limp. 

Say you’ve done what Colossians 3:12 instructs and you’ve put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, but you’ve refused to “put on” forgiveness. Refusing in any known area is like getting dressed for a day at the beach with all the appropriate clothing: bathing suit, cover-up, sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses…but if you forget or refuse to wear your flip flops, every time you step on hot sand or a rocky patch you feel the pain keenly. Every step hurts. Others will think you look like every other person out enjoying the sun, but inwardly you’re feeling the consequences of that decision every time you see or think about that person you are holding a grudge against. It’s like spending a lovely day at the beach but limping because you forgot that one aspect of your wardrobe. Forgiveness (or any obedience) is hard but it’s certainly not impossible for one who is empowered by the Holy Spirit and forgiven of her great debt by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Maybe your limp isn’t an unforgiving spirit. Maybe it’s an apathetic heart towards others or a sharp tongue that makes you unkind to that one person who irritates you. Maybe your limp is impatience with others…whatever it is, the remedy is always the same.

Here’s a spiritual spring cleaning checklist:

Pray and ask the Lord to show you a true picture of yourself according to His Word. 

Search your heart for self-sabotaging sin. And like David, ask the Lord to search you and reveal any wicked way you’ve been cherishing. He will answer any honest prayer towards holiness, as that is His will for you. 

Go to the Word. The Bible has the answers for all of our issues. Does the Bible speak to your situation or particular temptation? Do what it tells you to do. 

Humble yourself. James 4:6. Your fleshly actions/reactions are not serving you in the way you think they are. They are not hidden from God and are most likely common knowledge to everyone who knows you. Humble yourself before God resists you.

Admit your sin, repent of it, and make it right where you can. Your sin is against God, obviously, and repentance starts there, but if you’ve hurt someone else by your words or actions, you need to make that right with them. You can’t undo all the damage that a word of gossip, an unloving cold shoulder, an envious heart, or an attitude of antagonism towards someone else has done. But you can at least show that you are now on the Lord’s side on this matter. 

Begin to do the right thing. You don’t have to continue in sin. You can make the right choices today. You can change direction and that’s God’s will for you anyway…your sanctification.

Put Scripture before your eyes. Believe it to be true. Meditate on your areas of struggle to renew your mind on the matter. Memorize key passages.

As you are spring cleaning and pairing down as well?

I hope as you unpack your closets, you’ll consider your spiritual walk and clean out where necessary for your spiritual health. 

Books that May Help You

Lord, Change My Attitude Before It’s Too Late

Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness

Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners

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