The house was a mess as the time grew closer for the women to arrive for Bible study.

I tend to procrastinate when it comes to chores I don’t enjoy so I began that frantic ‘throw-everything-in-a drawer-or-closet’ method of cleaning.

As I jammed junk into every available hidden space, I prayed no one would have a random need to go into the pantry…or closet…or back bedroom.  And I especially hoped two people didn’t need the restroom at the same time because my second bathroom just wasn’t going to get cleaned.

I plopped in a chair, took a deep breath, and began to pray.  I prayed no one would notice all the ways my house falls short, but more than anything I prayed Jesus would be our focus for the evening.  I wanted His presence to overwhelm our hearts. 

In that moment of prayer, Jesus gently spoke – it isn’t just the hidden places of your house where junk hides, it is also in your heart.  Ouch, Jesus!

Heart Messes

But He was right. Just like I had done with all the clutter in my home, I had taken emotional junk – hurts, struggles, doubts, and fears –  and crammed it into hiding places within my heart and closed it off so others wouldn’t see my messy struggles. 

Here’s the hard truth: when I shut the door to my heart to keep others from seeing,
I also keep Jesus from getting in.

It wasn’t until I heard Him whisper to my heart that I realized I had thought I was hiding it from Jesus, too.  Somehow I had convinced myself if I stuffed it far enough away and shut up that part of my heart then God wouldn’t see it either. 

However, God tells us HE is clearly aware of what is going on in our heart and mind

I the LORD search the heart and test the mind…
Jeremiah 17:10a ESV

And even though He knows all the messes I am hiding away, He will stand at the chambers of my heart and patiently wait for me to open the doors.

Invite Jesus In

Jesus is ever willing to come into those cluttered, messed up places and clean it all out.  But we have to be willing to let Him in.  This isn’t a process He does to us but rather He does with us.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20 ESV

And just like when we clean out our closets and it seems to like the piles multiply before it gets better. It might feel a little messier before Jesus is done sifting through the clutter in our hearts.

Create in Me a Clean Heart

It takes time for hurt and disappointment to collect and become unforgiveness and bitterness.  So the cleaning out of the heart isn’t always a fun experience when God asks us to deal with tough, deep-rooted issues. 

It is through prayer and repentance that we are able to allow Christ to cleanse our heart, He does a thorough sweeping, making sure to leave nothing behind and restores the spirit within us.

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:9-10 ESV

As we allow God to restore our hearts and fill it with His love, peace, and joy, we find freedom from the fear that others will see what we were once trying to hide.  We will find it easier to be open and show love, forgiveness, and to serve others.

It is only when I willingly open the closed places of my heart that Jesus can bring healing into the mess.

Prayer

Jesus, help me to open the closed doors of my heart where I have unknowingly tried to keep You out.  There is so much junk in the hidden places and quite honestly, I am ashamed for You to see it.  Thought, I know You already know it’s there.  Lord, be patient with me as You work with me to clean all the mess I have made.  Create in me a clean and renew a right spirit within me, Jesus.  Amen.

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Written by Stephanie K. Adams

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