If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.
1 John 1:8 NLT
So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. –
James 4:7 GNT
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Psalm 19:12 NLT
We ALL have a past; a not-so-pleasant past. Because of it, we battle with different personal issues. Some of us have confronted many of our struggles and either overcame them or are presently working towards that goal, others are just suppressing them with an “I’m in control” attitude. However, deep inside they know that they are anything but.
Life’s inner battles are inevitable and can sometimes become overwhelming and detrimental to our mental, physical, and spiritual health. And, while we may have no problem selectively sharing some of them, there are others we rather keep (hide, ignore, deny) to ourselves. Maybe it’s because they are too personal and if exposed, they would cause people to think differently about us. At least that is what we keep telling ourselves. Those hidden struggles become what is commonly referred to as “skeletons in the closet.” And, just as we are unable to get rid of our shadows, no matter how far we run, some of those skeletons remain with us for life because fear, shame, guilt, and pride keep us from getting rid of them.
Skeleton in the closet is a colloquial phrase and idiom used to describe an undisclosed fact about someone that, if revealed, would damage perceptions of the person. It evokes the idea of someone having had a human corpse concealed in their home so long that all its flesh had decomposed to the bone. [Wikipedia]
Being able to face and deal with one’s skeleton(s) is also known as facing our demon(s). “Demons” in this expression, are metaphors for unresolved thoughts, memories, and weaknesses that weigh on our minds and trouble us. They can represent such things as fears, shortcomings, psychological traumas, and addictions, among others.
"You should dance with the skeletons in your closet. Learn their names, so you can ask them to leave. Have coffee with your demons. Ask them important questions like 'What keeps you here?' Learn what doors they keep finding open and kick them out. ~~Pierre Alex Jeanty, Sparking Her Own Flame
If you (with God’s help) have successfully gotten rid of most of the skeletons in your closet and victoriously overpowered the demons that once bullied you, then I truly praise God with you! May your testimony be one that helps others do the same. If you are willing to share it, how about writing and publishing it online? A blog like this one would be a perfect and effective way to encourage others who are facing inner battles. However, if you find yourself still struggling with a few pesky peace-robbing intruders, perhaps it’s time to confront them face-to-face, one on one. Time to befriend your skeletons and demons so you can get to know them better. In other words, time to sit down and take a serious look within; a personal inventory if you will. This will require you to stop making excuses. Stop arguing with them (yourself). Stop rebuking and hoping they will disappear. Stop convincing yourself that you “got this” when you know you don’t. And, for crying out loud, STOP whining! You need to figure out why the battle seems unending and sometimes even futile. Why are those particular issues/weaknesses still present? What are you doing, or not doing, that gives them the green light to wreak havoc in your life? It’s time to take a stand! No one is more in control than a person who is determined, a person who actually uses the power God has given them to overcome.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
I understand that for some of you praying, crying out, and reciting Scriptures has only served as a temporary band-aid. I know the struggle, trust me. But, I also know that in order to see some real permanent change, you have to seriously ask yourself why haven’t these things worked out as expected. The answer may surprise you. The main reason why our skeletons and demons linger and refuse to leave is that they continue to be welcomed. And by “welcomed“ I mean entertained, overlooked, and underestimated. The world (ungodly secular ideals), the flesh (fallen human nature), and spiritual principalities (demonic celestial forces) do have luring power. Hence, the need for redemption (through faith in the atoning death of Christ), sanctification (through the work of the Holy Spirit), and continuous transformation (through spiritual disciplines).
In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.Ephesians 1:7-8a
God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.2 Thessalonians 2:13
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Romans 12:2
As Believers and followers of Jesus Christ, the power to get rid of our skeletons and demons lies in knowing who we are in Christ. When someone is born into a royal family, they are automatically considered to be a royal, whether they believe/feel it or not. Likewise, when we are “born again” we join the family of God, who is the King of glory, and become not only his children but also heirs to His kingdom.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.John 3:3
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.Ephesians 2:13,19
For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.Romans 8:16-17
The moment we become God’s children He also imparts His Holy Spirit to us to guide us and empower us to live victoriously. However, the element of free will remains as part of our humanness. Personal responsibility and the resolve to live for God are voluntary. They are an outward expression of our sincere gratitude for His love, mercy, and grace. That personal responsibility will sometimes call for us to seek help (accountability) from family members and friends or from a professional. And, that resolve becomes evident when we continue to press on (pray, worship, fellowship, grow spiritually) in spite of our challenges.
In short, removing the skeletons in our closets and burying them forever requires that we expose them to the light of Truth. And, we do this by holding ourselves accountable to someone we can trust here on earth. Remember, we were not made to do life alone! We can also take a hold of our demons and send them where they belong by calling them out (by name) and seeking godly counsel. Sometimes, godly professional counsel may be the better choice. All the while, we continue to rely on God for strength as we become more aware of His daily presence in our lives.
Oh, and just in case, the moment we experience victory over any kind of battle, we must be careful to give God ALL the glory, honor, and praise. For…
“… it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” -Philippians 2:13
“…apart from me, [Jesus said] you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
Are you in need of additional moral and spiritual support? I make myself available to pray for and encourage you in your walk with Christ and in your skeleton/demon removal mission. Just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us connect.