I’m in the middle of moving. Twice. In one week. Now, for clarification, not a single thing has been moved out of my single-room abode; however my muscles have felt the exhilaration of heavy lifting from Saturday with great anticipation for a deja vu tomorrow. Two young women and their teenage daughters from the church decided to pack their bags (literally) and move. One, from an apartment to a house; the other, from a house to an apartment. And thus, a couple of us decided to lend a hand and bend a back.
While both of these moves contained little clutter, the question I began to ask myself was why do we wait for moving day or certain seasons (ie: spring) to clean the clutter of our homes? Just the other day I was going through my first aid kid full of ointments, pills, and bandages and found to my horror that the majority had expired… several years ago. Does Visine Eye Drops even work after they expired three years ago?
The problem I see, is not just how often we clean out our homes, but why do we allow all the junk to enter? Perhaps its because we see some great use for it in the future. Or because we become so attached to something, we feel we lose our best friend by throwing it away. Or maybe even because we don’t want to appear “an outsider” or an “oddball” and thus we gather the same things the people around us do. Yet in some way, all these things we keep around are “junking” and cluttering up our lives. Wouldn’t it be better to not allow this stuff in our lives in the first place? Perhaps live more simply and uncluttered?
How often does your kitchen sink amass dishes that need to be washed? The dust on your shelves beckon to be cleaned? Even simple household chores become gigantic when ignored for a short time.
But the REAL question is: what about the clutter in our internal lives? Modern “Christianity” gives approval for a continuous flow of junk within the life of an individual. TV shows, video games, movies, magazines, the internet, conversations, relationships – all can be loved and participated in without even the slightest need to guard against immorality or impurity. In fact, to live counter to such a lifestyle is scoffed at. Steve Gallagher makes the following observation: “Since nearly everyone watches television and surfs the Internet, Christians assume it must be acceptable. In fact, television has become such an integral part of the American Christian’s life that the person who does not include it into his life is considered odd or fanatical – by Christians! Even family togetherness in many homes is centered around ‘the tube.’ ” Yet the majority of what is on the TV or showcased in movies are completely counter to the values and lifestyle that a Christian is SUPPOSE to exhibit. Paul states “Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness” (Ephesians 5.11). Peter proclaims “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2.9). John states that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1.5). Therefore, as Paul argues, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light – for the fruit of the light (Spirit) is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth” (Ephesians 5.8-9). If there is even a hint of darkness within our lives, we are NOT living within the fullness of the light. All shadows belong to the darkness. And as previously stated, we are not to be of the darkness, but solely of the light (who is Jesus).
So again, I ask: why do we allow all the junk to enter? The modern “Christian” life leaves “clutter cleanup” for the moving experiences at summer camp, a revival, or for an emotional conference. Or they may wait for a particular season within their life. However, such is not the lifestyle of authentic Christianity. The removal of junk within one’s life is not set aside for a particular occasion; it is the daily lifestyle of the believer (“Our inner man is renewed day by day” – 2 Corinthians 4.16). We must constantly be open to the pressing of the Spirit within our lives who points out areas that must be cleansed, renewed, changed, or killed. Paul says in Romans 12.1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you (continually) present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to (guided by) this world, but be (continually) transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Likewise, the other aspect of the Christian life is to stand guard, refusing any level of junk and clutter to enter. Proverbs 4.23 reads, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” 1 Peter 5.8 states: “By sober (have clarity of mind, focused), be alert (vigilant); because your enemy the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” We must continually be fortified in the strength and power of Jesus; alert, prepared, with our sword in hand – ready to battle at a moment’s notice. We are not merely to allow junk, impurity, and ungodliness to enter our lives only to remove it later; we must not even allow it to enter our lives! And any past “junk,” having already poisoned our lives, must be bared before the fire of the Holy Living God in order that He (and He alone) may refine our lives as silver, expel every impurity, and be prove us as solid, pure, perfect gold (see Zechariah 13.9).