Have you visited a home, and as you walk in the door, you see boxes and piles of stuff stacked everywhere? Just then, as you want to inquire whether the family is preparing to move to a new place, you realize that this is how they live. I have visited a house where there was so much clutter that there was no place to sit down. The peculiar thing was how most host families preferred to live in clean homes, but they were not willing to work to clean the houses.
Prophet Ezekiel has a vision of the house of the Lord (Ezekiel 8). It was almost a similar event to the one described above. Before him lay an inventory of the sins in the temple, including public idolatry, hidden idol worship, ritual prostitution, violence, and sun worship. In Vs. 17, it reads, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here, that they should fill the land with violence and provoke me still further to anger?”. Because of the sins in the temple, the Lord lifted his spirit. God marked those who served him as the remnant. It is then that the Lord says that he will restore the temple to a people with a new heart (Ezekiel 11:17-23).
He Made A Whip
Years later, Jesus comes into the temple and starts cleaning the house. You would expect he would go in and have a 101 class on the proper use of the temple. Instead, Jesus was not polite. He did not ask, “could you please carry the coin boxes and put them outside the gate?” Instead, He saw the deeds that were happening in God’s house, made a whip of cords, and drove the enemies, their owners, and the money exchangers outside. Jesus, who was calm and quiet, now was the one who overturned the tables and shouted at business people to take their leave from the Lord’s house.
The event was a dramatization of what is to come. To all those who have taken the Lord’s house and converted it into a den of thieves. In this day and age, the temple refers not to the buildings. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
If there is anything to learn from Prophet Ezekiel’s vision and Jesus clearing the temple courts, God does not like it when we fill his house with vile things. Your body is the home of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let us look at a few ways we can clean our “houses” spiritually.
The book of Psalms tells us that a young man can keep his way upright by living according to the instructions given in the word of God. One of the ways to clean and make sure that our temples are clean is constant and continuous fellowship with the Lord. When we abide in the secret place of the most high, darkness can no longer survive inside of us. Every time Moses spent long periods of sessions in the presence of God, when he came out, his countenance was too bright to behold.
The more we spend our time in the prayer, the more the light of the Lord exposes our sinfulness and all our hidden sins. Paul wrote that we should not set up pagan idols in God’s holy temple since each of us is a temple in whom God lives. With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s separate ourselves from everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God (2 Corinthian 7:1).
- Repent from hidden sin
Repentance points out areas in our lives where we keep the secrets of our hearts. These unsurrendered issues blind us to think that God can not possibly see them. These are the things from our old life of sin that are rotten, and as the years go by, they eventually start to smell and stink. We may look very clean on the outside, but the stink of our secrets produces a smell that affects the whole house.
In today’s world, wrongdoing is not punished unless the doer is caught in the act. Thus this behavior has unfortunately resulted in a mindset of self-righteousness. However, part of the spring cleaning in our house will expose areas of weakness and disobedience. It is not enough to identify and apologize; we must make a complete turnaround and seek God’s forgiveness.
Psalms 32 clarifies that God remains ready to forgive us our sins if we are willing to confess and ask for his forgiveness.
Our repentant hearts will result in a renewal of our minds. The burden of confessing and repenting is not on God. It is on us. Paul challenges us to perform a complete cleansing to “perfect holiness” in fear of the Lord. We are not just called to tidy up but to repent and then experience thorough cleansing. As the Lord of the temple, Jesus has the authority to forgive us and cleanse our sinfulness through the power of his atoning blood.
- Guard your intake
The current dispensation of cultural morals requires a continuous sanitization of our minds as we consume media content or societal standards. The intake of mainstream content has led to many people getting predisposed to a frail future. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry on the issues of Children and TV violence point out the following:
- Extensive viewing of violence on TV causes greater aggressiveness.
- Children who view shows in which violence is realistic and frequently unpunished are more likely to imitate what they see.
- Children with emotional, behavioral, learning, or impulse control problems are more likely to influence TV violence easily.
This small excerpt provides evidence to quantify what Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
The same way that parents proactively research what their children are consuming. We also must be explicit about our values and what we will and will not allow our bodies to consume and listen to. Cleaning our spiritual house, we must submit to this cleansing even if it costs us dearly.
Hebrews 12:6 “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
- Remember Your First Love
Once Jesus has cleaned out the temple for us, we must endeavor to keep it clean so that he doesn’t have to do it again. However, this is not enough. In the letters to the churches in Revelation, the angel to Ephesus had an adorable report to give but had one big issue with the
Church. They had lost the zeal and passion they had started with.
Bring yourself back to the first time you met Jesus. Remember the feelings of love, the stirrings in your heart, and your adoration for the Savior? Do you recall how grateful you were for your sins being forgiven? Do you recall how there was nothing else that mattered at the time but Jesus? God wants you and me to go back in time this morning and remember that moment. And now that we have that in our minds, He wants us to come back. God desires us to return to our first love, to the time and place in our lives when He was everything to us. This morning, He wants us to be there.
You begin doing things in the church and God’s kingdom because you see their importance. You become involved in areas where you believe you can make a difference and where a need exists. In the meantime, you discover gifts and facets of yourself that you weren’t aware of before.
- Freely Give As you have received.
The term “spring cleaning” refers to the practice of thoroughly cleaning a house, especially in places that experience different seasons throughout the year. This cleaning targets the stuff that people have lying in the house and are not using. When people do not give away the excess stuff, we have issues of clutter and disorder.
Similarly, a believer must also offload what they are gaining in their walk of faith. Lending a hand, discipling someone, giving towards godly causes, and being generous. The more time we give to others and impact our communities with our godly lives, the more we realize how much God has put in us.
As His disciples, we are not supposed to keep Jesus Christ to ourselves. He tells us that we must inform others about His salvation. Consider who you might be able to talk to about Jesus’ love for us. Ask a friend to pray with you or read the Bible to someone unable to do so. Always be on the lookout for fresh Christian mentorship possibilities. Seek out ways to serve in the same manner as Jesus.