Cluttered Lives

Reread Philippians 3-4 remembering Paul was encouraging them to stick together in believing, spreading, and living the good news of Jesus Christ.

They were to rejoice in the righteousness of Christ–to stop leaning on anything else for God’s approval and be happy they could know God, experience His grace and power.  Of course, this would mean bearing with rejections, shame, attacks, and most of all, self-sacrifice.  But, the result would be a degree of moral virtue and, eventually, eternal life.    

 This rejoicing would come from intentional thinking and setting of priorities.  It required self-discipline and and a single eye–consciously setting the goal of knowing God and living a gospel centered life. It could not be done alone; disagreements needed to be resolved; examples of others followed; mentoring cultivated.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss for the sake of Christ….I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”  (3:8;14).

It is “in” right now to declutter our homes, to decorate by giving the singular more significance–one vase of flowers instead of three.  But, our lives are ever more cluttered and fragmented.  We are distracted by all our options or burdens and technology: travel, jobs, malls, debt, sports, novels, facebook, email, the internet, blogs, cell phones… It is hard to finish anything.  There is so much to do; so many causes; so many pleasures; so much responsibility.

I am reminded of an old catechism question:

“What is the chief end of man?  To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

A way of implementing this is to ask:  What is my purpose in life? 

How do we hone it down to one goal, to declutter, streamline, take rifle aim?  Paul said the way to do that was to seek intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ as our purpose.  Trying to do and have and experience it all fragments, distracts, clutters.  Instead of joy and peace, there will be stress, restlessness, and unhappiness. What will you do today to further that intimacy amidst your responsibilities and desires?  Rejoice in your blessings? Pray for others? Turn away from your selfishness or hurt?  Get some rest? Support your church?

What clutter is distracting you today from focusing on knowing God better?

(Scroll “Categories” to Philippians for all the lessons.)

About Carol Brandt

I earned a B.A. in History from Florida State University and M.Ed in.Higher Education from Florida Atlantic University. I taught high school social studies before “retiring” to full-time homemaking and raising two daughters. Now I love being a grandmother to four boys and a girl. I have also raised five collies.

My husband, John, was an optometrist, who worked tirelessly for his profession through private practice and as a consultant, and served on the Board of Trustees of Illinois College of Optometry for twenty years.

Ernest Reisinger was my chief mentor in this warm-hearted application of Calvinism. He gave me many books! The Founders Journal and Founders Conferences, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Charles Spurgeon have been other sources of Reformed thinking as well as the other warm-hearted ones listed in my book, “Warm-hearted Calvinists.”

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