The Bible says, “Come back to God Almighty and he’ll rebuild your life. Clean house of everything evil” (Job 22:23 MSG). This requires a concrete plan to rid ourselves of sin patterns in our life, to make a clean break of it. Yet, many of us prefer to sweep our sins under the rug or hide them in the back closet. We fail to deal with it completely. When we fail to regularly clean up after ourselves, or handle it completely, the spiritual mess only grows worse, making it harder to clean the next time. Listen to Jesus’ words:
When an unclean spirit goes out of a person, it passes through waterless places looking for rest but does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the home I left.’ When it returns, it finds the house empty, swept clean, and put in order.Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there, so the last state of that person is worse than the first (Matt 12:43-45).
So, pull out the furniture, shampoo the carpets, wash out the cupboards and dust every inch of your soul. Every couch cushion needs to be vacuumed, lest we find sin hiding in the cracks like loose change. But just removing the sin in our lives in a momentary cleaning spree isn’t enough.
In this strange scenario the problem isn’t that the individual neglected to clean house of the evil spirit. It appears that the person took the necessary steps to drive this evil out but didn’t invite the Spirit of God to take up residence in it’s place. We need to invite God’s presence to then fill all the empty spaces. Then the next time Sin comes knocking at our door, he won’t find a vacant building ready for rent, but instead the house of the living God, well lit and filled with the Spirit of holiness!
So, the first thing sin does is stink up our lives. The second thing sin does is it separates us from God. Since God is pure holiness, he doesn’t normally spend his time dumpster diving in sin’s filth. Indeed, the Bible says, “[God’s] eyes are too holy to look at evil, and [He] cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong” (Hab 1:13). God’s reality is free of garbage (Rev 21:27) and a place where nothing goes to waste.
We must therefore daily take account of our sins, confessing them to God and others (Jas 5:16), thereby ridding ourselves of all unrighteousness. The Bible is clear that we all have our own spiritual garbage to reckon with. “There is no one righteous, not even one… For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23). In John’s words:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing (1 John 1:9).
As we regularly take out the garbage, daily confessing our sins, we will avoid sin’s stench and prevent unhealthy behavior patterns from overflowing and polluting the rest of our lives.
NEXT: “The Day God Went Dumpster Diving”