My friend Alicia is joining us for Java today! No coffee for her, though — her mug is filled with steaming hot tea!
Dr. Alicia Britt Chole is a speaker and author. Whether spoken or written, her messages hit you in both head and heart and are like grace-filled surgeries. She and her husband, Dr. Barry J. Chole, direct a prayer retreat home called Rivendell and parent their three children in the Ozarks of Missouri where the stars shine brightly and their dogs bark loudly.
I asked her to share with you — us — about how to declutter our hearts so we can start off this new year with more of Jesus and less of our issues! Okay? Okay!
Thinning closets, purging the garage, lightening our schedules, making space… we long for a lighter life. Why?
Because we have too much stuff, we are doing too much stuff, and we feel weighed down by it all. Which is perhaps the reason the simplicity movement keeps gathering momentum in our day. From Keep It Simple handbooks to organizational coaches to IKEA and the tiny house trend, we have realized that when it comes to stuff, “the more” is not always “the merrier.”
We all feel the urge to simplify, lighten our load and decrease clutter.
But, even more than reducing the stuff in our closets, we need to declutter our hearts.
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In John 3:25-26, John’s disciples came to him and basically said, “Hey Master, that man whom you baptized – you know, Jesus — He is now baptizing others and everyone’s going to him!”
Jesus’ seeming success bothered John’s disciples and their reaction was creating some clutter in their hearts.
Though the Scriptures don’t identify the exact emotions of John’s disciples, we have all lived long enough to make some educated guesses of the possibilities. Perhaps John’s disciples felt:
- Jealousy—People always flock to the newest start-up. Maybe if John ditched the camel’s hair we could get better PR. Jealousy clutters our hearts.
- Territorialism—We were here first! What right does Jesus have to copycat our unique ministry? Territorialism clutters our hearts.
- Entitlement—Those crowds are ours! We began the baptismal work at the Jordan. We deserve their loyalty. Entitlement can clutter our hearts.
- Fear—If everyone follows Jesus, there won’t be anyone for John to baptize and what will become of us? Fear is heart clutter.
- Offense—How dare Jesus use John like a stepping-stone to start His own thing! Who does He think He is?! Offense clutters our hearts.
Whatever their motivations and emotions, John’s disciples were clearly distracted by heart-clutter. Their heart-cluttered impaired their spiritual vision–they lost sight of John’s real purpose, and, more importantly, they could not see Jesus well. Truly that is the greatest danger of heart-clutter: It blocks our view of Jesus.
Check out Forty Days of Decrease to join me and other women who want to decrease so Jesus will increase in our lives.
As we decrease, not only will we see Jesus more clearly, others will see Jesus too.
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