If my being is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I am His dwelling place, have I given Him full access to all parts of me? Is He allowed into all of the rooms of my house? And if so, are they “neat and orderly?” Does He feel welcome, even delightfully comfortable staying inside of me? Is there a fire in my heart, beautiful flowers of love on the table...ahh...sweet peace everywhere?
When things are as they should be, I feel as if my house is “clean,” the furniture is perfectly in place and there is a sweet aroma coming from the kitchen, as God is always cooking up good ideas and ways of reaching out to love others through me, if I let Him.
But when things get sideways, when I take offense at the thoughtlessness of others (perceived or real) or cause a problem myself, I feel as if a tornado has blown through my house causing disarray and even damage. It can take a bit of “cleanup” work to restore the pre-storm calm when Christ’s favorite chair, the throne of my heart, has somehow been toppled and I find not Him, but something other perched mockingly there. My choosing ANYTHING over Jesus places it in the seat of honor in my life and gives it power over me. That is when the problems start. Sadly, the enemy will take this opportunity to plant seeds of bitterness or despair in our hearts that may “take root and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15.
So what is the answer? How do we get Jesus back to the sweet-spot, back in the center, back on the throne... and all of the house set rightly back in order? One answer:
Picture this: If you could choose Jesus over anything in this world, if He were “for sale” so to speak, in a shop window, and with Him came all of the fruit and gifts of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord) or you could choose this world and the ways of this world, and with it came the fruit of the flesh (revenge, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, clamor, wrath, malice, slander and dissention) which would you choose?
When I look at it as a choice of Jesus or something poisonous, I choose to choose Jesus. And He meets us in Confession. There He does His cleanup work in order to take His rightful place back on the throne of our lives.
The sacrament of Confession is like a grace-filled broom impregnated with aromatic healing powers that sweeps away the hurt, anger or unforgiveness --the seeds of wormwood that would love to take root and poison our souls. And afterwards it leaves behind the beautiful, intoxicating fragrance of Christ-- something the enemy cannot stand, as it is the smell of death and defeat to him. And if the memory of hurt remains, or tries to regain entrance to our heart, we can choose to choose Jesus again and again until the enemy can no longer stand the rejection.
But-- it is a choice.
Who do you want on your throne? What fragrance do you want in your home? In what state do you want your house?
Choose wisely. Choose Jesus.
“They shall make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.” Exodus 25:8
Help. Sometimes this world proves too much for me and I get jostled. I let the storms of life blow me about. And when I do, my house gets topsy-turvey. Come Holy Spirit Come! Help me to set all things back straight. I choose You dear Lord over the fruit this world has to offer that tastes sweet in my mouth but leaves a bitterness in my stomach. Help me Lord to choose you above all others. Please give me the grace to go to Confession, forgive and move on. Give me the spiritual insight to unmask the enemy of my soul and see that his schemes are against me. I choose You, dear Lord, whom I should love above all else. I need your help to walk this out again and again and again until my heart is perfectly conformed to Your image and You are set rightly back in Your place-- as ruler of my life, in the center of my heart, bringing a delightful aroma to all I encounter.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.