Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I have never really considered myself a pack rat, but as each year passes I am finding that I can no longer find a place for everything. I tease my husband about not throwing away anything but to be honest, I’m as bad as he is. My new year’s confession: I have too much stuff. Not only do I have too much stuff, I have too much useless stuff.
Recently as I pulled out my hair dryer from the bathroom cabinet, several hair brushes and a bottle of scrunch spray came with it. As my hairstyle has changed drastically in the past five years, I no longer scrunch, and one of the hair brushes was totally alien to me; I can’t remember getting it or when or if I have ever used it. I told myself “I really need to clean out this cabinet”. Then, as I opened my makeup bag, I found I had to move jars of wrinkle cream, pallets of eye shadow and tubes of lipstick out of the way to get to the few products I now use. [Looking in the mirror, I realized I probably should have used more of the wrinkle cream.] As for the lipsticks, neither glittery mauve nor deep red passion are the best colors for a 65+ year old grandmother. Then, there’s my closet, but we won’t go there. I keep promising myself “one of these days”. You think?
Clutter happens. If we don’t take the time every so often to get rid of some things, we will suddenly realize we’ve accumulated a lot of junk. This law applies not just to our cabinets, drawers and make-up bags. Most of us will admit that we also need to go through the clutter in our lives and get rid of some things that are taking up valuable space. Let’s take a quick inventory together. “Do I really need to hold on to those old hurts”? “What about this bitterness, do I really need it? “Am I ever going to use this anger that I’ve kept stored away for years”? “This critical spirit, what use is that in the life of a Christian”? Just as my hair scrunch, eye shadow and wild lipstick are no longer right for a grandmother, these things are no longer appropriate for the woman whose identity is in Christ.
There is an old saying “out with the old and in with the new”. We have to get rid of the useless clutter so that we can have room for what we need now; Paul gives us instruction on this in Ephesians chapter 4.
- All your dirty talk
- Being bitter and angry and mad at others
- Acting like children
- Letting deceitful people trick us by their false teachings
- Living like stupid, godless people
- Getting so angry that you sin
- Going to bed angry
- Making God’s Spirit sad
- Yelling at one another or cursing each other or ever being rude
- Your old way of life with all its bad habits
Be filled with…
- Patience with each other
- Love for each other
- God’s Spirit to keep your hearts united
- Peaceful living
- Hard work
- Generosity to those in need
If we do all this, what does it get us? Paul gives us the answer… “if we are to grow we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him”. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
It’s a new year, are you ready to do some cleaning? I’ll end with this paraphrase of a current TV ad: “What’s in your closet?” Just something to think about.
In late spring or early summer, I began working on a new bible study. As hard as I have tried however, I haven’t made much progress. The draft that I have so far has become my own personal “elf on the shelf” in that it seems to follow me wherever I go. I’m not kidding, the study seems to show up, in one form or another, here, there and anywhere; it’s the craziest thing. Well, as the saying goes, “you don’t have to hit me over the head with a board”.
I realize that as I devote my attention to writing the study, I won’t be able to continue posting on a regular basis so this will be the last post for a while. I hope you will continue to stop by from time to time and say hello and I ask for your prayers as I seek The Spirit’s leading in this project.