One of the first things Jesus did after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem was to go to the temple. When He got there it was crowded with merchants who were buying and selling the items needed for sacrifices. There were even people there who would loan people money to buy what they needed for the sacrifices. The Message calls them loan sharks. Jesus became angry and kicked over the tables and threw them out of the temple.
As I read that, I’m reminded that I Corinthians 6:19 says that our bodies are the temple now. It got me to wondering, “What would Jesus kick over in my life? What things have I set up that make Him upset? What keeps me from being a ‘House of prayer?'” They’re tough questions to ask, but they need to be asked. None of us are perfect, nor will we ever be. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to do what’s right.
As Jesus was heading to the cross, He wanted to make sure that people understood what was important to Him. The first thing on His list was to clean out the temple. It was so full of other things that the poor and the crippled couldn’t get in. When we fill our lives with so many things that aren’t what God wants in them, we don’t have room for the things He wants to put in them. We miss out on blessings.
The options are clear. We can have Jesus come in, kick things over and make room, or we can make the adjustments ourselves. Personally, I prefer the latter. If we become people of prayer, we will hear God more. When we hear a God more, we will know more of what His will is for our lives. His will isn’t for us to live our lives for ourselves, but for others. The problem is that most of us don’t have room for others in our lives because we’re full of things for ourselves.
Hebrews 12:1 says that we are to cast aside and to strip off every weight that clings to us and entangles us. Verse two tells us how to do it. It says, “We do this by keeping our eye on Jesus.” He wasn’t concerned about Himself, He was concerned for others. His entire reason for coming here was to seek and to save the lost. He knew what kind of a price He would have to pay to build the bridge between us and God. He knew it meant sacrifice. Even when He got to Jerusalem for Holy Week, He told them what was about to happen.
Am I willing to make sacrifices in my life so others may know God? Is there room in my life for the emotionally, physically and spiritually poor and crippled? Am I concerned more with others eternity than my own temporary, physical comfort? What do I need to move out of my life in order to make room for what God wants to put in? These are tough questions that I’m asking myself. Hopefully, you’re asking yourself the same questions. It’s time we did a spring cleaning of our temples.
One of my first jobs was washing garbage trucks. I know what you’re thinking and yes, they do get washed. Why? I don’t know. I would be in the lot where they park them after dumping the trash in the landfill and walk down the line with a pressure washer to clean them. It was nasty. It was disgusting. It didn’t pay well either. I was still in high school at the time and didn’t have a driver’s license yet. My parents would pick me up at the end of my shift and I’m sure they were thankful they had a truck.
I had to ride in the back of it to the house because all of that filth and junk that was inside if them shot out at me while I washed them. I stunk. Badly. My parents would make me hose off in the yard and then get undressed in the garage before I went to take a shower. My clothes were permeated by the smell of garbage. Thankfully the washing machine was just inside the door to the house from the garage and they were washed quickly.
While I have a different job now, the same thing happens to me spiritually. I hear people’s conversations, I watch TV or movies, I hang out with non Christian friends and I go out to public places. All of those can have the same impact on my spirit man as the trash did on my physical man. I get contaminated by the things I hear or see. My spirit is permeated with the spiritual trash that I get around. I pick up the stench of the world and all I want to do is clean my spirit man off.
We can’t run from being in this world. We were called to be separate, but we were also called to be in the world. Jesus didn’t keep away from the things that got Him spiritually dirty. In fact, that’s where He spent most of His time. He went into the houses of sinners. He ate dinner with people who were unclean. He allowed a prostitute to wash His feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. I’m sure all of those things collected on Him like stench.
Just like when I was younger and needed a bath, my spirit man needs a bath every now and then. How did Jesus do it? He always went away to a private place and spent time with God. The only way to stay clean from the filth of this world is to get into God’s Word and to spend time in prayer. Just like you don’t bathe in public, this is something you do in private. You get alone with God. You get away from everything that will distract you.
Jesus showed His disciples this. He often went away to a secluded place. He would take them with Him and then go a stone’s throw farther. Corporate prayer is good. Reading and studying the Bible in a group setting is great. You also need to be doing those things on your own to give God time to speak to you personally. Let Him clean you up daily so you can go back out into the world each day fresh with His presence and aroma around you.
Discussion Question: What are some things you do to wash your mind and spirit from the things of this world?