I have, several times, and my answer has always been…Taking Out the Garbage!
Having junk in my life that displeases the Lord is of great concern to me. I want to take out the garbage!
So, I ask myself…
* Do I recognize all the garbage that I allow in my life?
* Do I know how to rout out the unholiness and get rid of it?
Holiness is not an option, for, without it, the writer of Hebrews says, “Seek to live a clean and holy life, for one who is not holy will not see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14 TLB) Yikes!
As God fills each of us, as His temple, with His holiness through Christ’s salvation, He cleanses us of our sins. However, the upkeep of holiness depends solely on us.
The book of Hebrews also says, “We Christians are God’s house – He lives in us!” (Heb. 3:6b TLB) So, then, do we give Him a clean place to live, or is it all filled with trash? If we are His temple, we must be diligent in routing out all unholiness in our lives.
Hezekiah knew how to get rid of the unholiness in the temple.
When King Ahaz ruled, his tenacious mission consisted of destroying and removing all things holy. He turned away from his religious heritage and built heathen altars to worship Baal and Molech, which he did by sacrificing his firstborn son by throwing him into the fire.
When it came to the temple in Jerusalem, short of pulverizing it, he rummaged through it, gave away its treasures, removed all the sacred utensils, and bolted its doors.
After his death, his son Hezekiah, obviously not the firstborn, was made king. In the first month of his reign, he called all the Levites and priests back into service and told them, “Our ancestors were unfaithful to the LORD our God and did what was displeasing to Him. They abandoned Him and turned their backs on the place where He dwells. They closed the doors of the temple, let the lamps go out, and failed to burn incense or offer burnt offerings in the temple of the God of Israel.” (2 Chron. 29:7 GNB)
Hezekiah then reopened the temple doors and repaired them. After he commanded the Levites and priests to cleanse themselves, he told them to cleanse and purify the house of Jehovah and to “carry out the filth from the Holy Place.” (2 Chron. 29:5 Amp) The Message version states it this way, “Give this much-defiled place a good housecleaning.”
What did they find when they entered the temple?
* The court permeated with garbage and vermin.
* The altars absent of their aroma of burnt offerings for sin and for worship.
* The sweet smell of the incense of prayers dissipated.
* The laver’s bowl depleted of its last drop of water.
* The table emptied of its fellowship of sacred bread, the crumbs carried off by rats.
* The lamps stood cold and dark, doused by an evil blast of air.
* The vessels of service no longer adorned the veiled recesses.
The house of God had been ransacked, stripped of its illumination, revelation, and glory.
Haven’t we all done the same thing at times to God’s temple within us? We permit looters to ransack and haul off His precious treasures from our hearts; we slam the door shut and bar His presence, allowing the world’s garbage to accumulate and quenching the Holy Spirit by dousing His light.
We disregard the well of Living Water, letting it go unattended and dry up. We acquiesce to the snatching of the Bread-Word right off the sacred table by the rat-enemy. We ignore burning the sweet incense of prayer or offering the sacrifice of praise, leaving our altar empty.
After the Levites and priests made a thorough housecleaning, they took all the debris from the temple to the Brook Kidron to be washed away.
Are our efforts exhaustive enough to rid ourselves of all the unwanted garbage in our lives? Have we taken the debris and dumped it in the stream of God’s forgiveness to be washed away, never to fish it out again?
When all had been cleansed, including the people, Hezekiah told the people to bring their sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord. So, the house was returned to its holy order.
After taking the garbage out and cleansing our temple, do we return it to its holy order…
* asking for forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice,
* refilling the well of Living Water,
* replenishing the table of fellowship with the sacred Bread of Life,
* relighting the lamp of the Lord with the oil of the Spirit,
* and returning to our knees to fill up the heavenly, golden bowl with the incense of our prayers, offering the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving on God’s holy altar?
May our hearts be so averse to the slightest thought of unholiness that we constantly keep our temples swept clean and in holy order.