It took everyone by surprise! Tables being overturned, coins scattered across the ground, animals being driven out with a short rope whip, merchants scooping up their money and running to safety, and religious leaders looking on with stunned amazement! (See John 2:13–15.)
The money changers and merchants who were driven out of the Temple were performing a necessary service for those who came from great distances to worship. However, their greedy and selfish motives had made the house of God a den of thieves and a place of commerce. (See Matthew 21:13 and John 2:14–16.)
If we fail to cleanse our own lives, we will be corrected by the Lord. (See Hebrews 12:6.)
Jesus had the authority to cleanse the Temple, because it belonged to Him. He also has the authority to cleanse our bodies, because they, too, belong to Him. “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19–20).
How do we cleanse the temple of our bodies? It is accomplished through the teaching and convicting work of the Holy Spirit and the living, eternal Word of God, which function together to expose the true thoughts and motives of our hearts and to give us the grace to correct our lives accordingly. (See John 15:3 and 16:8.)
We may wonder why it is often so hard to cleanse our lives. The primary answer is that we do not love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. (See John 14:15.) A further reason is that many of the things that we do are acceptable to the world yet repugnant to God. James points this out: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).
That which must be cleansed in our lives may be acceptable to the public, but it is repugnant to God.
When a father tells his son to clean his room, his son may come back a short while later and declare, “It’s all clean!” However, when the father inspects the room, he may discover that what his son understands “clean” to be is vastly different from his understanding of what “clean” means. The same is often true in our spiritual lives.
We can begin to cleanse our temples by removing from our lives things such as wrong possessions, friendships, attitudes, and activities that grieve the Holy Spirit and quench His power in our lives. In doing this, we obey the Scripture that says, “… Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). As the Bride of Christ, this purification will continue in our lives by the water of the Word as the Holy Spirit reveals new areas that need cleansing. (See Ephesians 5:25–27.)
Are there things in your life that you know are displeasing to the Lord? How do you intend to remove them? Let’s bathe our minds with the Word of God so that we can be a powerful “house of prayer.”
(Written by Bill Gothard)