My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness.
Like many of us do during the recent holiday break, I de-cluttered.
No shoe, no book, no kitchen gadget was left unturned as I made my way through each room in my home. I was ruthless in my efforts to get rid of the stuff that had been taking up precious space. I wanted a fresh start in 2011.
"Good riddance!" I said to myself several times. And yes, it was "good," but in some cases it was also very "hard." Selfishly, I didn't want to let go of some of the things that I thought I might need in the days ahead. But when I weighed that against the knowledge that I had apparently not needed this stuff in the days already gone by, well then I was able to let go a little more easily.
It is good to make a clean sweep and to get rid of things that are just junking up our homes and serving no necessary purposes. Same goes with our hearts and minds as well. The New Testament is full of reminders of how we should handle what's occupying our interiors:
Romans 12:2 says: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
So, the renewing of your mind. What does that mean? It means taking inventory of what's consuming your thoughts and what's driving your decisions. It means yielding yourself and being cognizant of when the Holy Spirit is trying to convict you, guide you or change you.
1 Peter 1:14 says: "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be Holy, because I am holy.'"
Are you living in ignorance? And if so, how can you become informed? How about setting aside a specific time each day to search the Scriptures for yourself? To pause and listen to whatever God is trying to tell you and to teach you? It's the best way to start.
Matthew 18:8 says: "If your hand or your foot cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the fire of hell."
Now I don't think this verse is advocating self-mutilation. But I do think it is instructing us to be brutally honest about whatever needs to be removed from our lives if it is hindering us in our Christian walks. Are there some drastic measures that you need to take as it refers to people, places or things that should not be a part of your life?
Cleaning, sorting and de-cluttering isn't just for the tangibles in this new year; it's also for the intangibles. Whatever's an obstacle, whatever's weighing you down, whatever's taking your mind and devotion away from Christ needs to be cast aside.
Free yourself, so that you will love the Lord your God wholeheartedly and be available to live for him in the victorious life he has intended for you to live.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
In his book simplify, author Paul Borthwick says that "external exercises to simplify must be complemented by inner spiritual change to help us deal with the clutter within." As you de-clutter or organize in your home or office at the beginning of this new year, remember to assess what's inside your heart and mind as well.
unstuff: making room in your life for what really matters by Hayley & Michael DiMarco
consumer detox by Mark Powley
**Listen to the audio/podcast version of this crosswalk devotional here.