Psalm 51:3-6, 18-19
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn. (Isaiah 58:8)
A frail, elderly widow living alone was visited by her son, who had been traveling for a long time. Opening the front door, he was shocked by the disrepair her home had fallen into. Over the years she had accumulated a lot: furniture, clothing, books, toys her children had played with. Since she was no longer able to keep it all tidy, it was piled in every room in boxes and bundles. But worse than the clutter was the darkness. The windows, where he could see them, were covered in layers of dust.
So the man set to work. He organized the clutter, storing much of it in the attic. Then he cleaned the windows and aired out the house until it was once more filled with light.
Like the widow’s home, we also house two potential blockages to the light of Christ: clutter and dust. Clutter is what happens when your human treasures—material possessions, habits, hopes and dreams, old memories—take priority over the Lord. They aren’t necessarily bad things, but they need to be reorganized and put in their proper place. The dust is the sin that can build up on the windows of our hearts, keeping us in shadows and darkness.
We can consider fasting as a way of dealing with the clutter and repentance as a way to clean off the dust. By fasting, we reorder our lives so that Jesus gets top priority, and in repentance we let his light shine in us—and through us—more brightly. Fasting is like spring cleaning, as we spruce up our spiritual lives and put away some unnecessary baggage. Often, as we take up the call to fast, we get a better view of the sins that have been blocking the light in the first place.
So try to put aside a few things—time on the computer, a favorite food, a fun activity that is swallowing up too much time—so that you can focus better on window washing. Make it your goal to let in as much sunlight as possible. As you do, you’ll discover how much joy there is in choosing a simple, clutter-free life.
“Lord you are my light! Come and break forth like the dawn in my heart.”~wau