As I write this article, Naomi’s and my room is a mess. There’s no other word to describe to you the stack of various sized cardboard boxes that have been haphazardly stacked on top of one another and so causing them to lean precariously to the right. Along with these boxes are books, a plastic tote, clothing and blankets all littering the once cleared floor of our bedroom. But this mess is not without excuse, it is just the result of today’s attempt to pack more boxes for Naomi’s big move. You see, she prepares to enter her new home with her husband- Joe. She has organized all her ‘worldly possessions’ (as a friend puts it) and carefully separated the essentials; clothing, books, crafting supplies and her collection of hope chest items, from the fluff; silly papers that somehow made their way into her drawers and boxes, some of her never started craft projects, random puzzles without all the pieces etc… I’m not sure Naomi has ever thoroughly inspected the contents of her drawers and boxes. This is one area in which Naomi and I are different. When it comes to our material possessions I am continually going through my things, weeding out anything that is uselessly taking up space or is not an essential to my life now or for the future. Every time I go through my things I am amazed at just how much junk I have acquired in relatively short amounts of time, which is why I find it necessary to go through this ‘cleansing’ on a regular basis. Every year I go through all my things (drawers, closet, school shelf, basically anywhere in the house that holds my things). This usually takes place around Passover season and then I may choose just one area to organize at other random times of the year.
Just like our earthly belongings need cleaned out from time to time, our spiritual lives can also use thorough cleaning too. If you just allow thoughts and attitudes to pile up in the caverns of your heart, unchecked, they can form into deadly habits. As these habits build up they clutter our lives and become an eyesore to the people around us (not to mention God Himself). Here’s an example of how these thoughts and attitudes pile up. Pretend that my heart contains boxes; each box is labeled and contains many things. Now pretend that I see the box labeled “Exercise”, this box represents all my thoughts and attitudes toward physical exercise. I could think “Oh yes, I workout 6 days a week this box is a good box to keep around” but what if I look inside this box and I see some bad habits that snuck into my box (or maybe I knew they were there but I chose to ignore them) such as; Thinking “I must be thin to be healthy” which can cause the bad habits of over training, under eating, or neglecting God and others in order to exercise. I have been guilty of allowing thoughts like these to grow in my heart and (at one point) take over my life. Now that thought is replaced with “Being thin does not necessarily mean I’m healthy and being healthy may not make me thin”, “God made me and He knows what the best size is for me”. As long as I am taking care to eat biblically (Clean, not in excess and wisely- any ‘fool’ knows that marshmallow fluff isn’t going to be a substantial meal) and exercise (especially because my American life could easily become rather sedentary) then I can be comfortable with the shape and size that I am. Here’s another box in my heart and it’s called “Blog”. Starting a blog as a way to encourage others had been a great idea so for idea but I must constantly watch this box to be sure that bad habits don’t form. I’ve read a few articles by girls who confessed to spending more time encouraging ‘others’ than encouraging their own family. For me, it’s good to remember that blogging is a tool. Like other technological ‘tools’ it can help me or harm me. God can work through tools (like blogs) but so can the adversary. A blog in and of itself is not good or bad but it’s how it is used. This applies to many areas of life. Use this ‘heart box’ analogy in your own life. Here are some boxes you could start with; “Music”, “Daily Bible Reading”, or “Family”.
Burning the Junk
As our junk piles up in my life I become attached to it… I remember how painful it was (at first) to cut back on my exercise in order to dedicate that time to more useful things. In the same way, it was sad for me when I had to get rid of some of my junk I had become attached to in my closet; Shirts too threadbare to wear, smiley face beads that I found in a parking lot, ridiculous things! Please understand that I am not saying that it’s a sin to collect ‘things’ or to never organize your possessions, I’m just pointing out parallels I see between physical and spiritual. So, while not a sin in and of itself there are some verses that I would propose to you support the idea of a thorough ‘cleansing’ of our possessions…
Deuteronomy 7:26-27 “The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the Lord your God. Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction”
As Naomi was going through one of her boxes last week she discovered a certificate from a karate school that we used to attend. Upon closer inspection I realized that there was a picture of the pagan water goddess printed on the top. The boys and I had a great time ‘burning it with fire’. This is just a silly idea to people who don’t believe in God’s Word but I believe that He means what He says. It may be a good idea to go through your things with Deuteronomy 7:26-27 in mind. I think it’s surprising that we still had that pagan god’s image in our house even though we searched so carefully during Hanukah!
Another verse that supports a cleansing of possessions is Exodus 12:15-
“For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.”
Who knows you may have a package of snack crackers in an old backpack. You never know where leaven might be lurking. I haven’t found leaven in my closet yet but one time our friends found half a PB&J sandwich on top of a horizontal support beam in the basement.
The Day of Atonement is getting close and we remember the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua for our sins. He loved us enough to die. Now I will choose to die to my sinful nature and it’s a choice I must make every day, even multiple times a day.
As Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) approaches, diligently search your heart and your home for anything that is against His Word… and burn it.