You put it off as long as you can but ultimately you are faced with the consequences of your own clutter and can’t ignore it any longer. Perhaps your spouse has been bringing it up or it may be you can no longer ignore the eyesore you have created. You then make the decision that it is time to clean out the garage. Sorting through all of the accumulated junk is no small task. You have to rearrange and store things of value but you may also start pitching many things that might be usable What is the priority? What is the fact that determines what goes and what stays? Perhaps it may be the question: “Is there room for the car?”
Sometimes we allow our lives to resemble an episode of hoarders. He have simply accumulated too much junk. We get our schedule cluttered with too many activities, we get our heart burdened down with too many worries, and we get our desires distracted with too many material pursuits. Just as the garage was made for the car our heart was made to be occupied with Christ. He deserves the priority and the pre-eminence in our lives. Perhaps it is difficult to see Him amidst all the junk we have brought in. Maybe it’s time to clean out the garage and make room for the Savior to be more visible. The Bible tells us in Colossians 1:18: “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence”. Are we careful to make time and space for prayer and study of His Word? Do we make worship in the house of the Lord a priority in our week? Do we ensure that the lifestyle He models is seen clearly displayed in our actions?
Just as our garages need periodic cleaning so does our hearts. We need to rid our lives of anything that clutters the place that our Lord deserves. Make a careful inspection inside your own life. Is there room for Jesus?
When my sons were little I got them a train set for Christmas. We set up the track on a big table in our basement. The boys could hardly wait until the project was completed to get their train running around the track. It was great fun for them and I have to admit I enjoyed it also; watching the train circle its way through our little train town. Nothing goes smoothly for long, however. Our beloved train began developing the nasty habit of becoming disconnected from the engine. I think something was wrong with the hitch that allowed it to become separated when it rounded a turn.
Becoming disconnected is not just a problem for toy trains; it is also a serious problem that followers of Christ need to beware of. Our lifestyle should follow closely our belief system. Our doctrine and our practice should be coupled together. As the cars on a train track are connected to the engine so should our day to day living be connected to the truth of God. Yet we can allow ourselves to become disconnected at times.
Jonah was disconnected. In chapter 3 Jonah went through the city of Nineveh and preached to the people. He had the right message; he had the right belief system. He believed in the love of God and also the justice of God. In chapter 3 he had the right words but in chapter 4 he had the wrong attitude. He was angry, pouting, discouraged and blamed God. Jonah had a disconnect between his belief system and his attitude.
God wants us to not only believe right but to also behave right. One of the reasons that many are turned off to the message of Christ is that they know too many disconnected Christians. A disconnected Christian is one who is careless with his words, carnal in his walk, and selfish in his attitude. Our God expects us to live a life of honesty, holiness, compassion, kindness, integrity and Christlikeness.
I think that after a while of trying to fix our train, I finally boxed it up and put it on the shelf. Will God have to put us on the shelf? He desires to repair the separation. He wants our faith and our practice to maintain that strong link. Have we become disconnected?
If you haven’t noticed it before, Florida is a huge melting pot. When I first made my move to the Sunshine State, I was surprised at the scarcity of a southern accent here in the Deep South. This is explained because people from all over the country and even from various foreign countries have made Florida their place of residence. They don’t have a southern accent because they speak with the accents they grew up with. I love to hear people talk and then try to guess where they are from just based on how they pronounce certain words. Whether we can hear it or not all of us have some kind of an accent. Our speech and mannerisms are shaped by the area we grew up in.
We who belong to Christ need to have a certain accent also? We need to be shaped and molded by our constant fellowship with Him. Phil. 2:5 says: “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus”. Our thinking, our attitudes, our behavior, and even our speech needs to take on that certain accent of Christ. People should be able to tell that we live real close to Jesus just by listening to us or watching us for awhile. In the book of Acts we are told that even the enemies of Christians could tell a difference in them. Acts 4:13-14 says: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus”. They had taken on the accent of Christ.
Perhaps you grew up in the Midwest, or spent your childhood on the East Coast. You might be from the Deep South and address everyone as y’all. However, those who are followers of Jesus need to speak with the accent of Christ. The echoes of His love, His kindness, His grace, and His holiness need to be heard from us. I wonder if some of us need to do a little work on our accent.
I haven’t seen very many robins while living here in southwest Florida. However, the other day I drove by a thicket where a whole flock of robins were feeding. These robins were eating the berries from the Brazilian Pepper trees. I noticed that the robins I saw that day seemed a bit skinnier than the ones I was accustomed to seeing when I lived up north. Perhaps the earthworms that they feast on when they are in their northern environment have more calories than the berries in Florida. I have also noticed that the Florida squirrels and deer are a bit smaller than their northern counterparts. I am told that it all has to do with their diets.
When it comes to our spiritual lives some Christians are a bit on the skinny side. They are anemic and weak when it comes to their walk with the Lord. They do not have that robust health and spiritual strength that the Lord has called all of us to. Just guessing here, but perhaps their spiritual skinniness is due to their diet. How about us? Are we feasting on the rich nutrition that comes from the Word of God? Are we reading the Bible daily and applying its truth to our lives? Are we careful to spend quality time with the Lord in prayer? Do we occupy ourselves with gathering with the flock to receive instruction, love, and encouragement? Are we getting enough exercise by serving the Lord? The book of James challenges us to receive with meekness the implanted word. Peter tells us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. The psalmist says “your Words were found and I ate them and your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart”.
When those skinny Florida robins hit the ground up north they begin feasting on those fat earthworms. That is what they are made to do. Have you been feeling a little skinny in your spiritual life lately? Perhaps it is time to do some feasting on the Word of God. That is what God’s people are made to do.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation