“It’s interesting to me,” Stan said one morning, “how, if I’m open to seeing and hearing, God always has lots to show and tell me. It happened again yesterday when I took the dog for a walk in the neighborhood.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“As I was walking by one of my neighbors, a man I know quite well,” he replied, “I saw that he was working in the garage. He had stuff stacked in the driveway and it looked like he was doing a major clean out.”
“I can certainly relate to the need to do that!” I commented. “My garage is a mess.”
“Yeah,” he replied. “Easy to get clutter. That’s what my neighbor said when I stopped to talk. I asked him if I could help, but he said this was something he needed to do by himself. He said he needed to ‘own the clutter’.”
“Own the clutter,” I repeated. “What did he mean by that?”
“I asked him the same thing,” Stan replied. “He said that unless he took personal responsibility for getting rid of the clutter, there was a much greater likelihood of it coming right back. But if he did all of the work to get rid of it, he found that he was a lot more careful about keeping the clutter away.”
“Makes sense,” I commented. “I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about it in that way.”
“There was something else he said,” Stan responded, “that I believe was from God, something my neighbor said that not only had a real impact on his faith walk in regard to the clutter that can get in the way, but something I can apply to myself.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“My neighbor was real transparent in talking about how alcohol had been a problem in his life, something that amounted to a lot of clutter. He described himself as not being an alcoholic, but being someone who was too attached to alcohol. He said that one day the Lord clearly spoke to him through the Holy Spirit and indicated the need to get rid of that clutter.”
“And did he?” I asked.
“He said he did,” Stan replied. “He said it was not easy because it meant some major changes in his life, friends, activities, and all sorts of things. If alcohol was no longer going to be a part of his life, and the clutter that went with the alcohol was also to be gone, he knew it was important for him to take ownership of all of that and do what he needed to do in following God’s lead away from the clutter.”
“But alcohol isn’t ‘clutter’ to everyone, is it?” I asked.
“Probably not,” Stan replied. “I don’t know. That’s not anything I know much about. All I know is what my neighbor told me about himself. It was clutter for him, he took ownership of it, now it’s gone, and he feels like a new person. And, for me, that’s a valuable lesson to apply to all that is and can be clutter in my life.”
Bible verses to consider:
If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Isaiah 43:18.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3.
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for showing me the things you want removed from my life, the things that clutter my relationship with you. I confess that too often I do not listen to you and do not do what is necessary to remove that clutter. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do take ownership of such clutter and take the steps to remove it so our relationship can grow deeper and clearer just as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Is there what can be described as ‘clutter’ in your life — things that interfere with having an ever-deepening relationship with God in Christ? If so, why is that? Why would you allow that sort of clutter? If you sense the need to remove such clutter from your life, how are you going to take ownership of it and proceed to get rid of it? Is that what you want? Why or why not?