Friday, March 8, 2013

Is cleanliness really next to godliness?

I'm sure you have all at one time or another in your life have heard the term, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." What does that even mean? It seems simple enough, but then I started thinking a little more upon that phrase and doing a little research. Contrary to popular belief, this phrase is NOT in the Bible. The term is believed to have come from John Wesley from one of his sermons in 1791. This was his quote, "Slovenliness is no part of religion.'Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness." The term "clean" and "unclean" in the bible referred to being holy (clean) and impure (unclean). So I know that "cleanliness" in the phrase probably refers to being washed away of sin, which would indeed be next to godliness.  
But then I started thinking, how would God live if He had a house on earth? Well, God DID come and have a house here on earth, He came as Jesus Christ. There isn't anything in the bible that talks specifically of Jesus' living habits of course, but we do know His character, and know that He was human, and the *only* perfect human being to have ever existed. So how would Jesus have kept His room? His workspace? He was a busy man, and He was human. I would imagine that He probably would have kept it clean. I mean, He was perfect, right? So imagine for a moment being Mary (Jesus' mother). As a mother, she probably cooked, cleaned, took care of her husband and all her children, but Jesus was perfect, and being the perfect child, would have probably done His part to help ease His mother's load.
Now anyone who knows me personally knows that I love to clean (yes, i said LOVE). I didn't always used to be that way, it wasn't until I married my husband that after a couple years of marriage I really began enjoying it. He, on the other hand, was this way since I have known him. We had many "spats" over the issue of what he considered to be clean and what I considered to be clean. Up until we had our first child, I worked and had a job as he did but when I became a full-time homemaker, the game changed. Taking care of our home became my job. So I learned to enjoy my job, cooking, cleaning, taking care of my family, managing the household.When there is order in the home, organization, things in their place, even something as simple as making the bed, it really does have a positive effect on my demeanor. I can think clearer, I'm not irritable, and I'm not overwhelmed. This goes not only for my home, but my car too. In turn, this creates a peaceful haven for my family to live in, for my husband to come home to after a long, hard day at work and to release all the stress and burdens of the day. Is it easy?? Of course not! Do I always WANT to clean, or have time? Nope. But I make myself do it, because I know that until I do, I can't relax, and if i continue to put it off, the mess only gets worse. It is, however, easier to keep it up once you get a good and thorough cleaning done at least once a week. 
So, is cleanliness really next to godliness in the literal sense?? We may never know the full and true answer of that question until we, ourselves, are in heaven. But I will say this, since my house is kept up, it leaves me more time to spend with my Lord and my family without the list of things I have to do lingering in the back of my mind. I am free to have an important play-date of pirate and dress up with my little buccaneers. ;)