Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander… Ephesians 4:31
Imagine that you bought a fixer-upper house. It had a lot of potential, but needed a lot of work first. The paint was peeling, floors were warped, and it smelled funny. It had been owned by a hoarder who was not particular about what he hoarded. So the house was stuffed floor to ceiling with old boxes, newspapers, rotting garbage, and rusty cans. Would you move right in and hang your curtains? Or would you do a lot of cleaning first?
When the Holy Spirit moves into a life, He has to clean house. Our hearts are initially cluttered with junk: bad attitudes, sin habits, lust, hatred, and selfishness. Our hearts are far from holy, but holiness is God’s goal for each of us (1 Pet. 1:16). He sees great potential in us, but the junk is in the way. He asks us to roll up our sleeves and help Him get rid of the junk, like bitterness, rage, anger, and harsh words.
But some of it we are a little fond of. We tend to be hoarders, too. We hoard petty grievances, old wounds, and painful memories. We can cling to it if we want, but He won’t hang around much in that kind of filth. If we want His presence and the beauty He will bring to our lives, we have to allow Him to clean us up. He’s very patient, but won’t start without our permission. We can stay in our filth without Him or enjoy His presence while He cleans house.