So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God." (I Peter 1:25-2:3)
Some of the "stuff" I had housed in the temple were malice, pretense, envy and hurtful talk. I had to be willing to throw it out - God won't come in and force His way - He wants our hearts to be willing to live His way. He will show us things that we need to be rid of, but it has to be our free choice to do so. Otherwise, we will look past Him, out the door to the stuff in the dumpster, clinging to it and wanting to bring it back into the Temple - our hearts.
Our hearts have to want to be free of the stuff.
As I walk through this world, there will be many times I have the choice to respond with a Christlike attitude or lower myself and respond as the world would. He keeps a quote from a book I recently read run through my brain, and changing my heart, "regardless of the type of actions toward Christ, He always - always - responded in kindness". This has become my guide to the trials and tribulations I will walk through. I also stand on His promise that the truth will prevail. When I am living my whole life "in" His truth, when it does finally prevail - I will not have moved. I no longer have to worry about defending my actions, my thoughts, my way of living. He is in control.
His Word is also helping me to see that for each of us "cleaning house" is on our own time schedule. Just because I am getting my "temple" in order, doesn't mean everyone else is. So, I am also keeping that in mind. If I go in and "make" someone get their "temple" in order, they will only hide the things they aren't ready to throw out. And eventually everything we have hidden in our hearts, our temple, come out into the open. It is seen in our faces, our fruits, our responses.
In preparation for the coming week when our family is under one roof I am letting go. What will be - will be. Because I am throwing out the "stuff", His beautiful furnishings are able to shine. How my heart does sing! I have at the ready, not having to dig to find them, all the fruits of the Spirit.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." (Galatians 22-25)