Monday, October 19, 2015

Spiritual Housecleaning

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…
Philippians 3:7-9a

This summer was all about clutter. My life is full of it. There’s nothing like a total shake-up to make dealing with clutter a necessity. With the news that my husband would be working from home in a few months, I realized something had to be done.

I spend hours each week preparing to lead a weekly Bible study. I write. I do family history. Over the past few years there has been a lot more of those things than housework. With two grown children, out of the house, but not totally settled, a lot of stuff is hidden in closets that no one has seen in years. In order to create a home office, a lot of paraphernalia would be coming in. There simply wasn’t room.

Cleaning out clutter has a snowball effect. What you remove from one area must be either thrown away or recycled for someone’s benefit. A few years of neglect, and every available space is full, but not everything there is good or useful.

My spiritual life is the same. Without regular housecleaning and attention to detail, stuff piles up, creating a mess that must be dealt with if I am to grow spiritually and serve God effectively. Sins pile up like the cobwebs and dead bugs in the back of my closets. Lack of daily self-examination and confession lead to messes I prefer to hide from God, just as I prefer visitors not look into my closets.
An orderly life makes time for Bible-reading and prayer, accompanied by close scrutiny to see if I am living in line with God’s word. Continual neglect of the confession of sin, and failure to replace it with right behaviors, leads to a messy spiritual life.

Hauling bags of trash out of my closets and donating items which can be used by others is just like keeping on track with God. I must rid my heart of the garbage of old habits and sins. I must replace it with new insights about walking with Jesus which deepen my spiritual life and enable me to offer godly wisdom to others.

Lord, create in me a heart that is free of the clutter of sin and neglect, but full of your wisdom and purpose. Enable me to keep my life and my house free of unsightly clutter and full of things which glorify you.

© Copyright, June 21, 2013 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman

 About the author:
Norma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, released in April 2014. She has led weekly women’s Bible studies for 20 years. Her devotionals and poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, Romance Writers of America, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 39 years. They have two adult children.
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  1. What an appropriate parallel and a timely reminder. Thanks, Norma!

    1. You're welcome, Deb! Thanks for taking time to comment!

  2. Norma, this post has so much practical wisdom and spiritual wisdom. I certainly needed the message of clearing physical and spiritual clutter today.

    1. I'm glad it was helpful, Terrill! It requires constant effort for each of us.

  3. I just read this post while taking a break from Declutterung! Our church uw having a clothing giveaway this Saturday and I gathered some clothes to take and then decided to clean up some papers and magazines. I have been caring for my 19 month old granddaughter since late April and my summer flew and the clutter grew! In fact, it was beginning to "bog down" my spirits so your post is perfect. Sin can certainly do thus also but inattentiveness to Christ is also a joy deflator.
    cps1950 (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Thank you, Norma, for your great post!

  5. So true, Norma, both about our spiritual decluttering and our physical. I'm better about the spiritual than the other. :-) But, come this spring, my closets are going to be emptied. Sooner, if I get through this deadline!