Last week our family went camping — yup, in tents! We were settled in a nice Minnesota state park, so don’t feel too sorry for us. We had bathrooms and showers and lovely walking trails. But brrr… this IS Minnesota, so it was cold!
So as the kids played in the dirt, and as we all hiked, we got a little
filthy dirty. (And a tad stinky.) I tried to take cold showers, but oh, it took a lot of teeth gritting and bravery to force myself to do it.
And when nine people live in tents for a week, things get a little disheveled. It’s just life! So teeth chattering or not, each morning we had to force ourselves to wash the dishes in the cold water and then make our beds and tidy things up a bit. Finally, we’d be ready to head to the trails, where the sun was intense and would warm us up a bit.
Cleaning up isn’t always easy. It isn’t convenient. It isn’t at the top of our list for fun and recreation.
But being clean is necessary. It keeps us healthy, and it makes us liveable to others around us.
In Titus 2:5, we find that older women are to teach the younger women to be clean:
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:3-5).
The word “pure” used here means to be clean. It comes from the Greek word hagios, which is similar to the Hebrew word qodesh. Derivatives of this word are often translated as holy, set apart, or saints.
In the past, I’ve written about how God defines holiness, as well as what it means to be set apart. The Scriptures are very specific about what “clean” is, so I encourage you to go back and read these posts.
Being at the campsite reminded me, though, that head knowledge of cleanliness doesn’t make me clean. I have to actually apply what I know, to continually get clean each day. Having a secure hope of eternal life isn’t the end of my life; it’s just the beginning. Once I know what my Messiah has done for me, I then begin to purify myself, out of love for Him.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (1 John 3:1-6).
The campsite also reminded me that children need to be taught how to be clean, and God’s Word says that as a woman, I need wiser, older women to come along and teach me, too. Some parts of Scripture aren’t spiritual or inspirational. They’re just practical! And I need a real-life, flesh-and-blood woman to teach me how to apply it to my life. I need to be able to ask her questions. I need to have her hold me accountable, too.
As she teaches me new ways to cleanse myself, I can react in one of two ways. I can be disgruntled, sick of “camping out” in this dirty world and ready to escape! On the other hand, I should react in repentance, which means that I change my mind and consequently, my behavior.
Paul wrote a hard letter to the congregation in Corinth, pointing out some serious sin in their midst. Sometimes older women have to be bold enough to do that to me, too. How did Corinth react? They repented! That’s how I need to react, too.
“Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent [clean, pure] in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By all this we are encouraged” (2 Corinthians 7:8-13).
As I perfect cleanliness in my life, both in my heart and in my home, my husband will be strengthened. If he is a believer, he’ll be helped. If he’s an unbeliever, Scripture goes so far as to say he can be won over by my “chaste conversation” ( as the KJV translates it, meaning “pure and clean behavior”).
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (I Peter 3:1-2).
I’m glad to be home again! Camping is fun, but it makes me appreciate a clean house. May I keep my home and life clean!
Joycelyn Connet says
What a beautiful way Abba showed you His Word in life!
Such a good Word! I have discovered when I am unclean in any area of my life, it is a distraction. But when I am clean, it helps me keep focused.
Living to tell,
God loves cleanliness too. He does mention it in the old testament quite a lot, how people should keep them selves clean, as well as body and soul. I guess there is an opposite side to everything. God versus devil, clean versus dirty, good versus evil, life versus death. Its just what ever side we pick…. quite interesting. 🙂
To address the more practical matter…invest in one or more solar shower units. You might not be able to use it to shower at a state park, but you will have warm water for washing up. You can always take some to do your hands and some of the more sensitive areas. As for dishes…boil water. When I was a kid, my father always built a fire before dinner so that he could set the big pot on it while we ate. By the time we finished a meal, my mom had a big pot of boiling water. She had a bucket with some cold water next to her so she could mix the water in the wash bucket to the perfect temperature.
Thank you, Thia! These would be perfect! I especially like the shower idea. We were warming up water over the fire in a tea pot. Next time, I am taking a BIG pot with me! It would have been handy for many things.
Terri Snyder says
i found on your site how to make a calendar of curriculum that could be printed out…. now i can’t find it!!!! I was soooooo excited 0: Can you help me please!!
Thank you! Terri
Anne Elliott says
Well, Terri, you probably couldn’t find it because…. (drumroll…) I was organizing things and moved it! LOL!
Was it this?
Or maybe this?
If these aren’t it, let me know, and I’ll keep looking. Finding things online is so similar to when I clean out my closet. I know it’s around here somewhere… but where????
Oh, one more possibility?
I love your comments on cleanliness and order. GOD is a GOD of order and purity. This goes for our body and soul. But most of all I enjoyed seeing the photos of all of you. How the children have grown!! Miss you still!!
Ingrid, we miss you!!!! And yes, the kids have grown. Three are taller than me now (Arik, Kaitlyn, and Andrew). (((hugs)))
Eniye Kanari says
Hi Anne. Greetings from Uplands in the Kenya. East Africa.
I’ve been receiving your coffee break e-zine since I signed up for the HHTC conference in May, and I’m amazed at your commitment. Bless you.
I’m a home-school mom, now retired, although we never stop teaching do we, like Titus 2 exhorts us.
I’m led to write a history book pertinent to Africans, there are so few if any. Can you give me some tips since you’re such a prolific writer. Is there a more personal email address I can write to you directly by the way?
I’m not sure why I got this today, but I sure do miss my friday e-zine. You are such a blessing. Hope you come back soon.
Thank you, Angie! I have no idea why it went out today either! 🙂 I’m hoping to start writing again soon… praying about it… (((hugs)))
Not sure why I got a blog sent to 11 years later but I sure need it…Thanks Anne!!