Everyone should clean his attic once in a while. There is no telling what treasures old and new (Matthew 13:52) one will find.
While ensconced deep in a pile of ancient diaries and correspondence it is a startlingly discouraging experience to read a letter or journal entry you wrote five or 10 years ago and to find you are still stuck in the same spiritual bog. It is very embarrassing, and it ought not to be so. The Bible does not speak of treading water, let alone endless defeat, but of lifelong increase in godliness and personal spiritual victories and growth, of proceeding steadily “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV):
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ …” (Philippians 1:9–11, ESV).
“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. … [A]nd may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another … so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness …” (1 Thessalonians 3:6,11–13, ESV).
Where there is arrested development Jesus issues warnings:
“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent …” (Revelation 3:1–3, ESV).
But let us be grateful for unexpected ambushes of God laid up in the attic. Dispiriting personal realizations are blessings in disguise—if responded to—intended to alarm and sober us from spiritual lethargy into godly determination:
“For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful … receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed. … Though we speak in this way … we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. … [W]e desire each one of you to show the same earnestness and to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish …” (Hebrews 6:7–12, ESV).
By the grace that Christ has blood-secured for us, let us determine today to write a better word in our diaries at bedtime than we wrote before, so that the next attic cleaning will be an occasion of rejoicing to compare and see how much we have grown in the Lord.