Friday, August 4, 2017

Letting Jesus Remove the Clutter: Revisited

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...  
(1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)

Another note (summer edition):  Yes, I am sharing a post that I shared earlier this year, because I felt some nudging through the Holy Spirit to share this post this week.  My hunch is someone “needs” to read this.  It seems somewhat appropriate as I work on sorting through information for the Holy Spirit series—some might call it clutter—I call it research.  Additionally, I am in research mode for a sub-topic for my Sunday school teaching responsibilities (spiritual gifts a sub-topic of sorts as we consider the bigger topic of Heaven).  Just this week, I did a small amount of purging of “stuff” that simply needed to go into the garbage.  Honestly, it is freeing once the anxiety goes away.    

Note: This post is from January 29, 2016.  As I was praying and preparing this week, I felt the Lord impress on me to post this message again (possibly with some editing).  Moreover, I am feeling some “nudges” to develop more posts with this theme.  Just know that I am “preaching” to myself as much as I am to those who read this post!

Many people struggle with clutter in their lives:  inner and outer.  I face struggles in this area, yet there is a degree of order to the “mess” (in other words, I can almost always find what I am looking for).  There may be a method to my madness…or not!  At the same time, I realize that God likely has a different perspective about my clutter.

Image from Pixabay

Holding on to objects—whatever they may be—of our past, a past the Lord has led us away from is likely far more counterproductive than we realize.  Whether or not we realize it, we are weighed down, hampered, kept from the future that awaits us; the future that is created especially for us by Jesus our Savior and Lord.  This is the future where we will find a happiness and a contentment that comes from being where we are needed and doing the things the world most needs us to do.  This reminds me of a quote from Frederick Buechner:  “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”[1]

Letting go of the “stuff” gives us freedom for the future—openness, space, margin for the Lord to work and for us to work too.  When we are free of this “stuff”, perhaps “stuff” that haunts us, we can become the person we were meant to be all along!  All this “stuff” that we think we need only distracts and hinders us (this is at least partially true for me). 
To be sure, the “stuff” is not always bad; it may have served a good and worthy purpose in the past.  If the “stuff” is truly a thing of the past; a past that is no longer the path God wants you walking down, why cling to it, as if it has the power to save?  This is what I have talked to myself about in the past and even just this week (as of the writing of this post in January 2016).  At the point God made it clear to me that the path I was on was not the correct one, I was so overwhelmed that it did not occur to me to start parting ways with the objects that had occupied hours of my life for many years, and stuff that I had spent a sizable amount of money to acquire.
Over the past several years, the Lord has been freeing me more and more of the files of paper, projects that were a significant part of my past.  Since the beginning of the year (2016) I have gotten back to work—it is work but it goes amazingly fast.  It is also completely overwhelming at times; mostly it feels great!  Now in 2017, I am beginning to see the deep need for even more work in this area. 

Image from Pixabay

Our God is a God of order (as can be seen the Scripture above).  He created order.  Therefore, order pleases Him—order in our lives, order in our churches—makes a difference, a difference that might just makes others take note.  God brings order to our disorder, if we allow Him.  As we depend on Him to remove the inner and outer “clutter” we find freedom.  This freedom gives us the necessary space to think, to create, and to simply live. 

Jesus also addressed this in His Sermon on the Mount:  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 KJV). 

Where are you storing up treasures? 
I am working towards an increasing desire to store up treasures—the most important treasures—in Heaven; a work that is in progress.  These are the treasures we should all desire.
In some way, releasing all this stuff, the baggage of the past—tangible objects and people may well be a type of “pruning” (see John 15).  I invite you to check the archives of the blog for some posts from last year on abiding (and pruning).
We can depend on God to help us in our weakness.  He is kind and gentle with us, yet He does not allow us to stay—growth, change happens and is expected.  I am thinking my releasing of this “stuff” will take me places I have never dreamed possible.

What do you need to do with the “clutter” in your life?

How is Jesus helping you with the “clutter” in your life?

Please join with me in prayer:
Dear Lord of Order, We confess that our lives are out of order; we need your help in regaining order.  Enable us to see our living and working spaces with Your eyes, so that we can address the piles of “stuff” that weigh us down.  Likewise, we need Your love, grace, and power to clear away our inner “clutter”, providing the necessary space for You to do Your creative work within us.  Remind us to be loving, caring, and gentle with others who struggle, as well as with ourselves.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,