The Holy Spirit is pretty amazing. He continually holds my interest by allowing spiritual epiphanies at the strangest of times.

My most recent revelation came as I watched an episode of Hoarders. It’s a television show that exposes the lifestyle of hoarding physical items for the sake of emotional comfort. After the commercial break, all of the hoarder’s junk was being pulled out of their house and laid out on a colorful blanket in the grass. It was an odd moment for a revelation, but that’s when the spiritual parallel struck me.

Up to that moment, I had been feeling completely overwhelmed in my spirit. Each attempt at prayer was a failure. I kept trying to engage in dialogue with the Lord, but my words never made it any higher than the cloud of fog surrounding my head. Spiritually speaking, I was a hoarder that had too much junk piled up around me to think clearly. The garbage in my soul was suffocating me.

I began removing the rubbish by laying it out on my mental blanket before the Lord. As the jumbled piles grew around me, my epiphany came. There’s always an origin to spiritual hoarding. Unconfessed, unrepentant sin is the catalyst that initially clogs the Christian’s spirit. When it’s not dealt with appropriately and immediately, the junk mushrooms and the pile keeps growing bigger and bigger. Pretty soon, you find yourself sitting in a garbage heap of sin, too ashamed to seek help and too overwhelmed to make a clean sweep of it yourself.

Is every word of the Lord true? Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” No wonder I felt like my words weren’t making it to the Lord’s ears. If I give place to sin over the Lord, He will not hear. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the verse is quite eloquent and also reinforces the idea of sin-hoarding. He said, “Nothing hinders prayer like iniquity harboured in the breast… sin lieth at the door and blocks the passage.”

Do you feel as if your prayers have been hindered by the growing accumulation of sin in your heart? Ever so gently, push open the door and take a peek into your personal hoard.  What do you find there? God’s Word gives us labels for all of the rubbish that piles up. Fear, doubt, lust, greed, materialism, gluttony or any other number of sins can block our communion with the Lord. Is your spirit being suffocated by sin?

He is waiting for us to ask His help in “cleaning house.” The first step is ours. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Have you felt the metaphorical urge to purge lately? I John 1:9 reminds us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

My favorite segment of the show was during the big reveal. The split screen of the before-and-after pictures of the hoarder’s home showed an amazing transformation. The hoarder walks into an immaculate house, filled with all of their restored treasures that they thought were lost forever. The look of awe and wonder on their face is itself priceless. What a burden lifted! What a life saved and restored! What hope for the future!

King David says in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” How much do you want a clean heart and a right spirit today? We have the choice. We can either throw yet another article of trash on top of the pile, or we can begin the cleaning process. Maybe it’s time to unfold your blanket, pull up a lawn chair, and ask for help sifting through your hoard.