What Does Good Friday Have to Do With De-Cluttering?!

What Does Good Friday Have to Do With De-Cluttering?!

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#GoodFriday everyone!

I previously shared some behaviours and thought patterns that have led many to experience clutter around their homes. Everything begins with the mind. From “keeping up with the Jones’s” to “shopping therapy” to materialistic teachings in the Prosperity Gospel in various churches, consumerist culture is promoted as something 1st world citizens both need and deserve. Advertising has built an entitlement culture that even extends to how we provide for our children. Television ads, radio ads, Internet ads, video ads, newspaper ads, magazine ads, signs in stores and flyers in the mailbox all want us to believe that our kids will grow up missing out if they don’t get this or that, wear this or that, eat this or that, wash with this or that, and play with this or that. The pressure this puts on a single mother is incredible! How do we shut out these money-grabbing voices and dim their impact on our God-given ability to provide for our families?

Good FridayWe start where they start, the mind and heart. I want us to take a moment to consider what Christ’s death on the Cross did 2000 years ago. If you’ve been in the Christian faith for more than a year, you’ll know that Christ died for your sins. That He took your sins and mine on Himself this day 2000 years ago, and that we can be forgiven those sins if we accept His gift of salvation. But what happens when we accept that gift? What happens when we truly, deeply, with heart soul mind and body, accept Christ’s gift of Salvation?

Scripture says we become new creatures. God gives us a new heart. He washes away our sin and gives us a heart that seeks after the ways of God. He sends The Holy Spirit into our hearts to guide us in this new path of righteousness. Sinful ways become distasteful to us. . . or they should. . .

BabyYou see, the middle letter in the word sin is spoken of time and time again in the Scriptures as something we need to repeatedly put to death. It is that pronoun identifier, “I, me, myself”. Scripture tells us that the sin of pride led Lucipher to fall from heaven, taking a third of the angels with him. He lifted up himself against God and this caused war in the heavens. Nothing and no one can be lifted up against God, but when Eve fell for satan’s deception, sin entered the human race and we are born being selfish and demanding. Some of us begin this behaviour in the womb as your unborn child demands you eat this or that and don’t eat this or that, choosing to play when you are trying to sleep, insisting on kicking a kidney when you would rather they didn’t. When baby is born, they learn very quickly that when they cry, Mommy comes running. Mommy is trying to learn what various cries mean from hunger to diaper soiling to over-tired to lonely, etc. If Mommy can’t handle crying, baby learns all they have to do to get attention is cry and Mommy will be wrapped around their tiny baby finger.

I remember these lessons from my own two babies years ago. I had to teach them that Mommy wasn’t always going to come running when they called if they were fed, changed, had a good nap, were otherwise comfortable, etc. As babies, we need to learn that having time to play alone is necessary for our growth. This grows with us into toddlerhood and on into our school years. Look around you at the Mothers who were taught by the media that if they didn’t provide every stimulous in the book, their kid would somehow be stunted in their growth. They are run off their feet! They are exhausted! Their kids grow into tweenagers and get demanding, now paying attention to all the media I mentioned early on, and expecting money to go buy what they too are being told they will be shunned without. The media engine has produced several generations of entitlement now, and it all points back to “me, myself and I”.

So step one in dealing with this problem is accepting Christ’s gift of salvation and realizing the new man has no need of selfish junk. Not the kind of junk all over the lunch counter, nor the kind of junk that pours into the mind and heart from media intake.

voices we listen toStep two in dealing with this problem is realizing that now through the Holy Spirit, you have the means to proactively turn off the voices teaching you selfish ways to live and spend your money. We’re getting personal now, but this is your home and family we’re talking about here. Eternal decisions are made in temporal time. The saying is true that you can sell your soul to the devil, in so many different ways. Becoming enslaved to consumerist culture is one of the biggest ways the enemy traps 1st world Christians. What we need, versus what media claims we need are so widely spread apart as to be the distance from New York to Jerusalem. It can be quite a shock to discover what is absolutely necessary for you and your household and what can fit into the wants and nice-to-have list. Your wants and nice-to-have lists are precisely where the enemy wants to trip you up and get you thinking God has not provided for you.

[bctt tweet=”God has told us in His Word that He will meet our every need if we put Him first. God does not say He will give us our every want.” username=”songdovemd”]Instead, He says He will give good things to those who ask Him. However, He is not a genie in the sky. Just as your child can ask you for things that you won’t give him because it is not healthy for him or perhaps not safe, so God too will say no when what we ask for will not be to our benefit. Your own child will think you are being mean sometimes when you say no. As adults, many authors and speakers have written books, held workshops and spoken at conferences on how to make God say “Yes!” to your prayers! We can’t handle God saying no and most of us don’t believe that “no” is for our benefit at all. We may pass around memes that remind each other that God has three answers, “yes, no and wait”, but in reality, many of us are reading these how-to books trying to get the right set of steps in order to make God say “yes”.

Rather than trying to force God to say “yes” to our demands that we’ve disguised as requests, we need to learn to accept His answers for what they are and trust that He truly does know what’s best for us. To help us discern God’s voice from the enemy’s, we need to turn off the avenues the enemy can speak through and turn up the avenues God uses to speak to us. This means turning off or in my case, getting rid of the TV. Cancel the magazine subscription orders. Put an ad blocker on the browser, change to a Christian radio station, and ignore advertising when out and about. In exchange, we need to allow God time to become an active member of our home. Show God the grocery list. Show God the needs list, and together with our kids, ask God for the means to get what we need.

Step three is obeying how God answers us. When He provides funds for our needs, we need to school ourselves to only spend those funds on our needs and nothing else. God doesn’t mind splurges on occasion. You will begin to notice that He splurges on His children every so often Himself. The problem arises when you asked for a need, He granted the means to meet that need, and you spent it on something you or the kids wanted instead. As Christians, we need to be crucifying the flesh on a regular basis. Sinful flesh rears its head very easily and doesn’t need all those other inputs to get you to sin in granting it pleasure. All you have to do is listen to the flesh more than to God and the deed is done. God says we show Him we love Him when we obey His commands. This can be a tricky thing when we realize one of those commands is to love one another. This too has been warped by the enemy in modern culture. Those whose love language is gift giving will find this a particularly sinister stumbling block. [bctt tweet=”Is it wrong to buy nice things for those you love? On the surface of it, no. But if those nice things are just adding to the junk that person has to haul around, you’re doing them more harm than good.” username=”songdovemd”]

Christ’s death on the Cross put to death the sin nature that drives us to placate our selfish longings and desires. But we must walk out our salvation in everyday life according to how God asks His children to live now that they are called His Children.

For those who got saved later in life, this is more of a challenge than for those who got saved early in life. But no matter who we are, we will ALL be faced with this challenge at some point and not just once. But understanding that the accumulation of clutter stems many times from placating the sinful nature rather than attending to needs and saving up for emergencies (even understanding what true emergencies really are), is necessary to not merely cleaning up the clutter, but preventing it in the future.

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