I cringed as I watched from across the room. The woman was opening the door to “the closet.” She thought it was my guest bathroom, but it was my junk closet, one of my most secret places. It houses everything from cleaning supplies to art supplies to the socks that everyone thinks have been eaten by the washer. There is no way to find the floor in this space.

(Oh sure, I’ve tried a few times to clean it up, but it never stays that way. I think a magical clutter troll lives in there and guards his treasures.)

The woman realized her mistake and quickly closed the door, but I could tell by the look in her eyes that she had met my personal nemesis.

That cluttered closet, that place that struggles to stay clean, reminds me of the human heart. The Bible says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desper­ately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9 NASB).

We hide a lot of things from the world in our hearts, but eventually they are discovered. We hide unforgiveness and judgment toward others. Hate, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, disappointment, anger. We hide or harbor the lies that Sa­tan whispers to us—lies that attack our worth and purpose. And we hide most carefully our secret sins.

These things must be brought to light. Without that, they will certainly poison our souls. Eventually, they’ll expose them­selves to the world anyway. They can’t and won’t stay hidden forever.

Jesus said, “Nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17 NASB).

Thankfully, we have a Savior who is ready to shine His light into our dark, secret places and bring order to the chaos. His name is Jesus.

Mary, Jesus’s mother, got a front-row seat to the glory and majesty of our Sav­ior. When shepherds came to see her son, Mary listened intently to their story of seeing the multitude of angels announc­ing the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:19 says that Mary “kept all these things in her heart and thought of them often.”

Mary was storing up thoughts of Jesus in her heart. We should follow this ex­ample, meditating and reflecting on the goodness of our Savior.

As we fill our hearts with Jesus and give our lives to him, the Holy Spirit begins to transform our hearts. Only God can give us the gift of a changed heart. The psalm­ist cries out to God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10 NASB). Our spirits and our hearts are linked.

The problem is that our hearts, like my closet, have a way of constantly collecting clutter. What are we to do?

First, as God reveals those cluttered areas of sin in our lives, we must repent of them and turn away from those things that take our eyes off Jesus. Second, we must stay grounded in the Word of God and give our hearts to Him day by day. Third, we must guard our hearts. Prov­erbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

A favorite hymn of mine, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Rob­inson, expresses well this idea of a clut­tered heart. The first stanza says, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”

Lord, we pray that You would create in us clean hearts. Give us eyes to see the clutter hidden in the secret places within. Grant us wisdom to discern evil and the strength to turn away from anything that grieves You. Make us vigilant and watchful servants for Your king­dom. We humbly ask You to seal our hearts to­day for Your courts above. Amen.

For more articles similar to this one, click here for the January 2019 magazine.