PROGRAM W-1736 – Part II
I must confess that I’m not a very good closet cleaner. At times I just throw things in and shut the door so no one will notice. The outside may look okay, as long as you don’t open my closet and see the mess inside! If you’ve ever gone through selling your house, you know how you have to get every nook and cranny in good shape because when a potential buyer is inspecting your house, they open every closet and every cabinet and check out every corner. It is then when I get the closets looking good.
Using that analogy, imagine that your body—your heart—is a home that has been purchased by God. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it because the Bible tells us that when we are born from above, we are purchased by God. Let me share with you two passages that support this:
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
As you can see, we have new ownership—and the new owner has the right to every inch of the home he has purchased. All-too-often, however, we try to hide a few things in our hearts and lives, and keep the King out of certain closets and rooms.
One reason we don’t get serious about cleaning up our lives is because we don’t hate sin enough. Paul wrote to the Romans that they should hate that which is evil and cling to that which is good. (Romans 12:9) Evil—or sin—has become quite commonplace and quite acceptable and, subtly, little by little, our minds have become accustomed to it.
The ethics and standards of Christians are always at a higher level than those of the world around us. However, as the world lowers its standards, we tend to lower ours, too—keeping a distance between them, but not hating that which is evil like we used to and like we should.
God’s standards are not movable: they are clearly defined in Scripture and they don’t move with the times. That means if we hate evil, we’ll look more and more peculiar to this world system. So be it! The King lives in this house! We must care more what he thinks than we do what people around us think!
What are some of today’s evils we tend to accept instead of hating them the way we should? In other words, what are you keeping in that closed closet?
Immorality and impurity
Do you turn off the television or change channels when immorality is portrayed as an acceptable lifestyle? Do you keep listening when a dirty joke is told, or even a slightly off-color one, because you don’t want to be different?
One of my sisters in Christ in our class at church related how she had become addicted to a soap opera which she taped every day and watched in the evenings. However, she was convicted about the immorality and impurity of that program—not to mention the waste of time—so with prayer and commitment, she has cleaned out that closet. Now she feels so free from that trash!
Another friend got rid of trashy romantic novels she had been reading for years, sometimes as many as one a day. It seemed a harmless thing at first, but gradually it took control of her and she found her thought life greatly damaged by the dirt of those novels. By God’s grace, she has cleaned out that closet.
We’re all aware of the readily accessible pornography in our society today, and so many people have become addicted to it. This addiction affects Christians, too, sad to say.
Is there something in your life that you know is not pure? If you really want to be free, then clean out the closet today—thoroughly and completely clean it out. Remember, the King lives in your house.
I am amazed at the number of believers who hang on to relationships that are clearly wrong, and which lead them into paths of sin and depression. One of our listeners has for years asked us to pray for a friend to become a believer. We’ve just learned that he has had a relationship with this woman for all these years—he knows he should not, but he refuses to give it up. Instead, he is becoming bitter and depressed because it’s not working out the way he wants it to. He’s kept that closet door closed and refused to clean it out. When you do that, it gets worse and worse and becomes overwhelming.
Are you a slave to some wrong relationships? The Bible is clear about being yoked in some way with unbelievers, and a close relationship certainly falls into that category. Perhaps it’s a business partner that you should not be in business with because they aren’t believers and don’t work by Christian principles.
Until we clean out these closets, we’ll always have some major problems in our walk with the Lord and in our effectiveness as believers.
Lying and deception
Lying has become an art in our culture. We’re so accustomed to our politicians and leaders lying to us, we vote them back in office by big margins anyway. Are you squeaky clean when it comes to telling the truth? Maybe you need to clean some lies out of your closet. Maybe you need to go to someone and tell the truth and ask for forgiveness for some lie you’ve told. Until you clean out that closet, your house will never be suitable for the King.
A complaining and negative attitude
Have you ignored the verse which says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing”? (Philippians 2:14) If you will clean out that closet and get the negative attitude out of there, you’re going to discover how much easier it is to get through the day. A complaining and negative attitude discourages everyone who comes near you, and it stresses you out more than any other thing you can do to yourself.
An uncontrolled tongue
When our tongues are out of control, our whole personality is out of control, James tells us. Does the King, who lives in your house, have to listen to your tongue using words like bullets? In one of my business classes, a man told me that he seemed to get his foot in his mouth frequently and cause problems with customers. In order to help him, his boss suggested that he record all of his phone conversations with customers, then his boss would listen to those tapes and critique them to help him improve. He said, “Mary, you wouldn’t believe how much I improved overnight when I realized my boss was going to be listening to everything I said to these customers.”
If you and I are aware each day that every word we say is being listened to by the King and, furthermore, that we will give an account for every idle word we speak, don’t you think that would go a long way toward getting that tongue under control? Today, just imagine that everything you say is being listened to and recorded by Jesus. It will change the way you talk: gossip will stop; unkind words will stop; criticism will stop; judgmental words will stop; sarcastic words will stop; and on and on the improvements go.
Remember, the King lives in your house. Your house is a temple of the Holy Spirit. You belong to Jesus. Therefore, he has a right to every corner—including that closet with your uncontrolled tongue in it. Clean it out today and be free!
Is there some unforgiveness in your closet? Unforgiveness turns to bitterness and it smells up your house, making it a place where no one wants to be. Certainly it will be uncomfortable for the King to be there! He has told us that as we have been forgiven, we must forgive. Remember how freely he has forgiven you; therefore, by faith, forgive those who have wronged you. I understand how difficult this is to do, and you may have to re-forgive many times. But believe me, it is a lot easier to forgive than it is to live with that unforgiveness in your closet—that will ruin your life and your testimony.
Here’s my challenge to you: Start thinking, “The King lives here.” Say it to yourself every day over and over. “The King lives here, in this body, in this temple.” When temptation pops up its ugly head, think “The King lives here.” When you start to say something sarcastic and cutting, think “The King will hear it.” When you’re tempted to cheat or lie, remember, “The King lives here; he’ll know about it.” When you get discouraged and want to give up, say out loud, “The King lives here. He cares and he loves me.”
I believe if we would think this way, it would be life-changing. We are what we think, and cleaning out our closets begins with changing our thought life. If you and I would often and regularly think “The King lives here,” and determine to keep our lives fit for a King, we would discover the joy and freedom of holy living and the powerful ways we can be used by God.
This ministry is dedicated to challenging marketplace Christians to be lights on their jobs, but our light will not shine for Jesus if our lives are not continually being purified and cleaned up for his glory. Do you think the people who work with you know that the King lives in you? Does your life look any different than theirs? The best way you can show them Jesus is to clean out those closets so that it becomes obvious that the King lives in you.
To encourage you to practice this principle, I want to send you a copy of this wonderful little book I’ve referred to entitled, My Heart, Christ’s Home. It is a classic and has helped many Christians start to practice the presence of Jesus in their lives. If it will help you start to practice this principle in your life, it will be our joy to send this to you free of charge—while supplies last. All I ask is that you prayerfully read it and give God permission to speak to you and change you—that you be willing to clean out those closets, whatever they contain, small or large, no matter how long you’ve kept it locked.more