While continuously ridding our lives of sin’s toxic presence is of central importance, there is another type of spiritual waste that needs to be kept at bay. I call it spiritual clutter. If spiritual garbage represents the sin polluting our lives, spiritual clutter represents the numerous distractions that constantly compete for our immediate attention, drawing our focus away from God’s kingdom purposes.
Webster defines clutter as: (1) v. “to fill or cover something (e.g., one’s life) with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness;” and (2) n. “interfering echoes visible on a radar screen caused by reflection from objects other than the target.” Let us take each of these in order.
Life often feels like a circus of various attractions. Each day is filled with innumerable tasks and responsibilities that call out to us like hecklers at a game booth. They beg us to pay the buck and toss the ball at the weighted milk bottles. Like a coat of arms, we wear each responsibility on our sleeves with great pride, either boasting or complaining to others of our full plate. The more activities we are involved in, the more respect we expect from others.
We are soccer moms running multiple kids to multiple sports and activities. We are Boy Scout leaders, little league coaches, and small group leaders at church. We hold memberships at the health club, country club and gun club. A typical day involves a hectic commute, several important conference calls, a lunch date with the CEO, an oil change and haircut on the way home followed by an evening Bible study after you grab supper and mow the lawn! Did I mention your wife is sick in bed and unable prepare dinner and drive the kids to their own evening activities?
Into this scattered and disordered life come the lazor-focused, unbending words of Jesus: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and he will provide you with all of these other things” (Matt 6:33). As if this wasn’t challenging enough, he adds a further consideration: “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these [other] things, but you know both God and how he works” (v. 34). The central point is that kingdom people are called to a single-minded, uninhibited pursuit of the things of God. We are called to faithfully and intentionally reprioritize and simplify our lives. When we do, we should look different than the rest of the world who “fuss over these things.” But do we?
NEXT: “Boasting In Our Busyness”