“Spiritual Downsizing”

Snow Geese at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
Snow Geese flock at Middle Creek

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“Spiritual Downsizing”

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:21).

Yesterday a friend shared about the physical weariness she was feeling from the past months of downsizing. Now in their mid-eighties she and her husband have moved from a large farm house they’ve lived in for many years to a smaller house.  Of course such a move results in the necessity of downsizing furniture, possessions, keepsakes, etc.

Many of us know how easy it is to accumulate “stuff” over our lifetime. I recall some of the interesting things my mom held onto that were finally sold in an auction when she came to live with us.  It was physically and emotionally exhausting for her.

Some people take the accumulation of “stuff” to a dangerous extreme which is known as hoarding. In such cases their living place may be barely usable due to the amount of stuff they keep. In fact there is a TV program that deals with this problem. The amount of possessions can practically suffocate them, forcing them to make tunnel like passages between the piles of junk so they can walk from one end of the room to the other.  In reading about this chaotic lifestyle I feel like a neat nick (which he is not – Brooksyne’s added note)!
Today’s Scripture text has a phrase essential to any type of downsizing, “get rid of.”  I sometimes have a hard time getting rid of things. In some cases they have a sentimental value, in other instances I reason that it may be useful someday or perhaps someone else could make use of it.  I suppose it’s the remnant of being raised by depression era parents and that’s certainly not a negative.  I think there are some virtues to this form of thriftiness lacking in our present world which is all to quick to dispose of anything.
But today’s verse is not really about material things. In regard to spiritual matters having more is usually better than having less.  As I am preparing this message I hear Brooksyne downstairs memorizing aloud a Scripture verse from 2 Peter 1:5-9 that has the phrase “add to”; speaking of eight virtuous qualities the believer is to possess in increasing measure.

But is there a case for “downsizing” in the spiritual realm? Indeed there is. As followers of Christ, and as a result of our call to live “the righteous life that God desires”, (verse 20) we are to “get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent.”  This is a vivid word picture. James is in effect saying, “Take off your filthy attitudes and actions (moral defilement) just as you would soiled, smelly garments!” The picture is that of a snake that sloughs off its dead skin!

Pastor Steven Coles writes, “We all bring baggage from our old way of life over into the Christian life. Usually, we’re blind to much of it. We don’t realize that we’re displeasing God by our thoughts, words, or actions. As we begin to read God’s word, it convicts us of areas that we didn’t even know were sin. When this happens, the receptive heart cleans out the crud of sin and puts on the clean clothes of new life in Christ. If you don’t do this, the crud will prevent you from growing as a Christian.”

Just as I’ve written about the process of physically downsizing there is also a process in which the Holy Spirit works in our lives:

First, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, “And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment” (John 16:8).  Our consciences are pricked leading many of us to repent of our sins.

Secondly the Holy Spirit guides us “into all truth” (John 16:13), revealing those areas in our lives where we need to “get rid of” ungodly thinking, attitudes, and behaviors that dishonor God.

Thirdly, the Holy Spirit wants every believer to “humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you.”  When we get rid of the detrimental stuff in our life we make room for that which is helpful and beneficial to our spiritual growth.

Today let us make a renewed resolve to separate ourself from the world, THEN saturate ourself with the Word!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, as we humbly receive the Word  planted in us through Your Spirit we put off the old self. Help us to get rid of anything that stimulates our old way of thinking.  Help us to reject that which is detrimental to our spiritual growth and to embrace that which saves us from the evil that is prevalent in our world.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Hoarding problem

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link (usually a Youtube video) to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

“Everything We Need”  Video This is a portion of the II Peter passage that Brooksyne is memorizing set to music.

“Jesus Is All I Need”  Video In the course of finding music that may fit our message I never know what I will come across! I was looking for a chorus (perhaps hymn) I recall from many years ago that states,

“He’s all I need,
He’s all I need,
Jesus is all I need.”

I couldn’t find an online version of this chorus but found this song with excellent lyrics and graphics.

“More Than Enough”  Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

“Ancient Words”  Video Michael W. Smith

“I Am Resolved”  Video This is an old hymn with a high call for the follower who desires to please the Lord.

Here’s an article on hoarding.  There’s also a TV show on this topic.

I took today’s photo of the snow geese at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in northern Lancaster County. The snow geese stop here on their migration north and a friend told me yesterday the flock peaked this last weekend. Here’s a photo collection from Middle Creek by a serious photographer.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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