Raising three children had its challenges. One of the most difficult challenges my wife and I faced was when we tried to get our children to clean their rooms. You would have thought that we had asked them to do the impossible. However, when they understood the benefits of a clean room, they got busy doing the task with all their effort.
In the book of Nehemiah there is a time when a room needed to be cleaned. The situation that is described and the process that Nehemiah followed in cleaning one small room has much to do with how we need to renew our minds.
I always thought that Nehemiah was all about rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. Once this was accomplished, the book was over. I have read a lot of commentaries on Nehemiah and there is much to be learned from studying how this task was accomplished in such a very short time. We can learn a lot about leadership and how to overcome opposition by studying Nehemiah.
But I want us to consider how this book may be a blueprint about how to build a godly life. We are all born sinners. Our lives are in shambles and there needs to be a complete rebuild take place. Most of those reading these blogs have realized that they were sinners and have accepted by faith the payment for their sin debt through the death of Christ on the cross.
When we became Christians, we saw the need to rebuild the walls of our lives. This probably included things such as baptism, church membership, Bible study, giving, etc. However, once those things were in place, too many Christians think that nothing else needs to be done. The walls are rebuilt and our lives are in order. This is the same condition we find in the book of Nehemiah.
However, I found an interesting situation described in chapter 13 that impacted me greatly several years ago. With the walls rebuilt and everything secure, we find that Eliashib, the high priest, has done a very sinful thing. He had made an alliance with Tobiah, one of the antagonists that tried to defeat Nehemiah’s effort to rebuild the walls.
Eliashib had allowed Tobiah to set up residence in a small room in the center of the house of God. This room was meant to hold the things of the Lord that were to be used for worship. Nehemiah comes back to Jerusalem and learns what the high priest and Tobiah had done. Nehemiah’s reaction was quick and decisive.
If you read the passage, you will find several things that Nehemiah did when he saw the condition of this small room.
- First, Nehemiah was grieved over the room’s condition.
- Second, he threw out all of Tobiah’s possessions.
- Next, Nehemiah ordered the walls of the room to be cleansed.
- Finally, he restored all of the Lord’s items that were to be used for worship into the room.
As I thought about this, I began to realize that is exactly what needed to take place in my life. I had been a Christian for many years. My walls were all in place. I was an active member of a strong, Bible-believing church, I was reading my Bible regularly, giving God His tithe and even involved in Christian school ministry.
However, there was a small room in the center of my body (which is God’s temple) where I had made an alliance with the world. It was a room that was designed to hold the things of the Lord that would help me live a life of worship to Him. That small room was my mind. Instead of being the place for God’s thoughts, I had allowed so many of the world’s thoughts to take up residence there.
As I read Nehemiah 13, I realized what needed to be done. It was time to do a thorough cleaning – a renewing of the mind had to take place. The steps were the same as those taken by Nehemiah. I first needed to develop the proper motivation to do the job. It was the same thing that needed to take place when I tried to get my children to clean their rooms. I had to become grieved over the filthy condition of my mind and understand the benefits of a clean room.
Then I had to painstakingly start throwing out Tobiah’s possessions. I had to get rid of the world’s thoughts that were directing my life. This is the same thing that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 10. It is the process of taking our thoughts captive to Christ.
Once I started getting rid of my worldly thinking, I had to ask Christ to forgive my sin and cleanse the walls of my mind. This prepared my mind to receive the Lord’s thoughts about all of life. As I continued in the process of renewing my mind by trying to think biblically about each and every aspect of my life, I became better equipped to live a life of worship to the Lord.
When I wrote my book, Kingdom Education, I included two very important chapters toward the end of the book. Sometimes these chapters don’t get the attention they need to receive. These two chapters are on how to tear down the wall of the secular/sacred divide and how to go through the process of renewing the mind. I encourage you to read these two chapters as a reminder of the importance of developing a biblical worldview.
My questions for you today are these. Is it time to clean your room? Have you allowed Tobiah, the world’s way of thinking, to take up residence in your mind? If so, are you at the point of being grieved about this condition so much that you are ready to take action? Renewing the mind can be painful but the rewards far outweigh the pain. I pray that God will help all of us to renew our minds each day so that our lives will be filled with His thoughts and then we will be prepared to help the next generation think and act from a biblical perspective.
When my children cleaned their rooms, it brought me great joy. Happy cleaning!!