My mother and I have enjoyed having a friend visit this week. We’ve been her tour guides and have loved every moment. Earlier this week our friend and I spent the day in London. We traveled by train. As we whizzed through the countryside, villages and towns, I was particularly drawn to the terraced houses. These are homes built in a long row, all attached to each other. Basically each house in the strip is identical to its neighbour. However, as I observed them, I knew that while they may appear alike, each home would be its own distinct place of habitation.
If we could open each door and peek inside, we would no doubt see homes that were very neat and tidy. Others not so clean and orderly. Still others might be an absolute mess. No one can see behind a closed door.
It’s the same in the spiritual worlds of our lives. Mankind can look at the outside. They may see some faces smiling while others appear indifferent. Still other faces may be angry or crying. While the outside may indicate what is possibly on the inside, like an overgrown lawn might suggest untidiness in the home, no one can know for certain. You and I can only guess what another may be feeling or experiencing, but God knows all.
God says in I Samuel 16:7, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The Lord knows our every intention, our every ambition, our ever desire. He knows when we love and when we detest. He sees when we smile on the outside because we are happy on the inside, and He sees when the outside smile is a fake, covering up the turmoil behind our facial mask.
God sees all, but that’s not the point of this blog post. The wonderful point is the truth that God sees the pain and is able to comfort. He sees when we are trapped by the deceptions of this world and is able to put us back onto a path of righteousness. We cannot clean up the cluttered mess of our hearts, but our forgiving and loving Father is able to clean us up and then to make us like brand new again. That is why the Apostle Paul could proclaim the wonderful truth of II Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, all things have become new.” Isn’t that amazing?
When our hearts become cluttered or downright unclean, that is no reason to keep the door shut tight. The moment of such a realisation is the moment we need to open the door wide, inviting the Holy Spirit to please take the broom of holiness and clean us up. The door can only be opened by us. The key to unlock it from the inside is repentance; which is that sense of regret and desire not to live that way anymore, that stirs us to ask for forgiveness. When we do, the Holy Spirit begins to clean, sweeping away the debris of this world that can never satisfy, but can only deceive one into thinking they have found joy, when indeed they have only sunk into deception. When all is forgiven and hearts are clean once more, then true joy fills the rooms of our heart and mind.
A tidy home is pleasant in our physical world; it’s indescribable joy in the home of our spiritual heart.