You may have heard the term “prayer closet,” referring to a private place where you can be alone to pray and spend time with God.
You may also know from experience that closets tend to collect all kinds of unnecessary junk over the years. If you don’t clean out your closet it can become so full of things you don’t even want or need that you can barely shut the door, much less store important things inside. When that happens, it’s not exactly a place you can go in for peace and quiet, right?
When your closet is full of junk, it can no longer be used for its intended purpose.
But your prayer closet doesn’t need to be a physical space (although that often helps).
You are the temple of the Lord.
He dwells in you. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul says:
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
In 2 Corinthians 6:16, Paul says again:
For we are the temple of the living God.
And how does God feel about His temple?
Let’s take a look at what Jesus, the living Son of God, did when He entered the Temple in John 2:13-17:
It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”
Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”
It’s evident that God cares a lot about His temple. In particular, it’s clear that He cares about what’s inside His temple.
Jesus saw things in the Temple that did not belong there, and He got rid of them.
In Matthew 21:12-14 we see another picture of Jesus getting rid of things that didn’t belong in God’s Temple.
Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them.
But what happens when we don’t allow Jesus to clean out His temple?
What happens when our prayer closet is filled with things that don’t belong there?
There’s a hierarchy in the demonic realm. There are demonic principalities that are ruling, cruelly and oppressively, from heaven (Ephesians 6:12). They may be ruling over entire nations, they may be causing problems in a specific region, or they may be assigning lesser demons to harass people on the ground.
Praying against them or rebuking them yourself won’t do you any good because they have a legal right to be there. In fact, because of this legal right, if you attempt to engage them directly you are actually opening yourself up to incredible danger, because that’s God’s job, not yours (see Jude 1:8-10). They have been given authority to rule from heaven.
Now you might be thinking, “Whoah, I thought you said that God was good! What kind of good God would let things like this happen?”
God isn’t the one letting this happen. God gave us authority, but when we choose to worship idols instead of God, we’re giving our authority up and offering it to evil.
Demonic principalities are given legal authority to rule in any area they are being worshiped.
Remember that time you were sad and chose to watch a funny movie to cheer yourself up? God is your comforter, but you chose to run to media to comfort you instead of God. Now the principality of media is legally allowed to reign in your life because you gave it the place of God.
Remember that time your best friend got a new, shiny toy and you were jealous because you wanted one, too, but you couldn’t afford it and you felt so bitter? Now you’ve given power to the spirits of jealousy and poverty in your life, and you’ll continue to become more envious and more impoverished until you repent of giving them a place in your life and reject them.
If there is any area in your life in which a demonic principality is still receiving worship, it will continue to have the legal authority to oppress you in that area until you repent.
I had a really rough week last week. I felt overwhelmed, anxious, and hopeless and didn’t know why. I started recognizing dangerous thoughts in my own mind that weren’t originating from me. I knew there was something spiritual going on, but nothing I did seemed to break me out of it.
Then at church on Sunday, while I was waiting in the presence of the Lord, God showed me a picture of my mind. It was a room with lots of shelves. I recognized that this was supposed to be God’s temple, but I had filled the shelves with idols. Things I had given my attention to instead of God. Things I had turned to for help instead of God. Things I had loved more than God. Things I had listened to instead of God. The shelves were full of these things.
During the week, when I had known that something was wrong, I had repented of the things that I could think of, but only half-heartedly, because I felt so tired and didn’t care about anything the way I wanted to. (Extreme exhaustion is often related to the spirit of death, because, very sneakily, it eats at you, slowly, slowly, driving you to feel so tired you just want to give up fighting, and ultimately give up living. How sinister!)
But now, in the presence of the Lord, I saw that I had filled God’s house with junk. No wonder I couldn’t feel Him anymore. No wonder I didn’t have the strength to repent properly. My life was being siphoned out by all this nasty clutter.
So I repented – really repented – and, like Jesus in the Temple, went through violently and shattered all the things that didn’t have a right to be there. I rejected all those idols and swept their broken pieces out.
And then I felt the Spirit of the Lord flood into me with joy and peace again.
Let’s go back to Matthew 21 for a moment.
Jesus has just driven out all the buyers and sellers. He has overturned the money changers’ tables and the dove vendors’ chairs. He has told everyone to get those unnecessary things out of His Father’s house and to stop turning it into a place where business without God is done.
In verse 14, it says,
The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them.
Notice that when the Temple is clean and God’s Spirit dwells there, it becomes a place of healing.
When you clean out your closet and destroy all your idols, God comes in and His presence heals you in deep ways.
Don’t let your closet fill with junk. Get that stuff out so the healing glory of the Lord can set you free.
Join the Discussion
Have you ever realized you were giving God’s place to something else? What was its effect on you, and what did you do about it?