Is Your House in Order?

“There is a time to keep, and a time to throw away.”

—Ecclesiastes 3:6,NIV


TV reality programs showcase hoarders for our entertainment. However, hoarding is neither entertaining nor laughable. An excess of clutter in our homes can be the symptom of a severe psychological disorder. Hoarders not only cling to things of value, but they also cling to mounds of things that have no value at all. Most of us say we can’t comprehend this type of thinking, and yet we often replicate it.

The start of a new year is the perfect time to take inventory of areas we’ve neglected and rid our homes of items we no longer use. When I clean, I tend to concentrate on the rooms people see and push aside the cluttered drawers and closets (and heaven forbid, the attic). Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. Because I know the clutter is there, it creeps into the corners of my life and disturbs my peace until I’m pressed to do something about it.

But clutter doesn’t only accumulate in the physical realm: it builds up in the spiritual aspects of our lives as well. Anything that disturbs our peace or blocks our pathway of communion with the Father is clutter. Let’s face it: no one wants to open the door of their prayer closet and meet an avalanche of shelved grievances, stored anger, or suffocating pride.

The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover’” (2 Kings 20:6). We may think Isaiah was short on bedside manner, but the truth is, he delivered a hard message from the Lord straight to the proud heart of a king who had opened up his doors to the enemy. Isaiah’s message produced repentance, brought cleansing, and added years to the king’s life.

“It’s time to put your house in order” is not a declaration we want to hear. Those words from our doctor mean he believes our days on earth are few and that we need to attend to the important things before it’s too late—things that if left undone would burden and add further heartache to the lives of those we love. But what if hearing and heeding his words could add years to our lives, or at least enrich our remaining days? Wouldn’t you welcome them?

In church, we sing, “All to Jesus, I surrender; all to him I freely give.” This song is so familiar it’s easy to let the words roll off our tongues with little thought. However, surrendering to the Lord requires intentionally barring the door of our hearts to the enemy, giving God the keys to every chamber, and clearing a pathway to his throne room through repentance and prayer. Are you surrendering your all to Jesus or only giving him lip service?

Be intentional. Today is the day to set your house in order.



Savoring Your Season: The Art of Simplicity

Life is full of seasons other than spring, summer, fall and winter. Childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; single, dating, engaged and married. We have healthy and unhealthy seasons, ones of flourishing and of pruning, and every high and low in between. I’ve been one to say I’m in a season of waiting just as often as I say I’m in a season of going. Too often, we lose sight of the present season for looking too much on the seasons past or future. Let’s take some time this week to be honest about our seasons – mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally – and learn to savor and soak in where we are now.


The Art of Simplicity

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:2

thursdayIf you search the phrase “simplify life” on Google or Pinterest, there will be no shortage of websites and blog posts that give you a list of things to do to find the simplicity in whatever area of life you’re in. It’s pretty obvious that simplicity is something that everyone is looking for, and as believers, we should actually consider joining the crowd for this one.

I remember listening to a sermon at some point in my life where the speaker showed a picture of what looked like an overgrown bush. It looked as if it was dying – the branches looked dry and the leaves were yellowed and quickly turning brown, and the few fruits hanging on looked like they would shrivel up at any second. Then he showed us a different picture of a vineyard. The leaves were green and the grapes were beautiful. I was shocked to find out that those pictures were from the same exact place. The difference was in the way they came to life: the first was allowed to live overwhelmed by buds and branches and new growth, someone never choosing what was most important and cutting back the rest. The second was intentionally cut away in order to allow the best to grow more.

Too often, our lives look like the overgrown mess. We feel like we have to do so many things and we have so many different branches and buds of obligations and service demanding our attention that they all suffer. We want to volunteer, we want to be a part of this Bible study and lead that small group. We commit to taking on another project at work, we want to go on this mission trip and that service project – all because these things are good. They are good, but oftentimes, the “good” is the enemy of the “best.”

Just like a plant with too many buds and branches cannot possibly sustain all of them, so are our lives if we’re overloaded with commitments. Some buds have to die and some have to be intentionally cut away or pruned in order for the most important ones to flourish. Simplification may look at first like death, but it brings greater and healthier growth than any other option.

I’ve had to learn to declutter my life, and I’ll continue having to learn to declutter my life as seasons change. All that a cluttered, overloaded life does is distract me from what should be most important and central: Jesus Christ.

We are called to much, yes, but we are not called to everything. Remembering this frees us to live fully where God places us.

It may look like simplifying your closet, your expenses, your appointment book or your list of ministry commitments, but I encourage you to spend some time asking the Lord what simplification looks like for you in this season.