This morning, I ran across an email from Hobby Lobby. It said, “Make Your Crafting Clutter Disappear…” Without even reading the rest of it, I knew it was an ad for storage containers. Any true crafter will tell you there’s always too much stuff and not enough places to put it. After all, you never know when you’ll need that stuff you’ve hung onto! But, here’s the thing, simply boxing or bagging your crafting stuff doesn’t make it disappear, it just organizes or hides the stuff. And, amazingly enough (because God is SO good!), it exactly fits in with what I’ve been wanting to write about this week.
No, we’re not going to discuss crafting. We’re going to discuss clutter. Not all clutter is worth containing. Some of it is just junk. When I get done with a project, the good and the bad tend to be all piled up together. I have to sort before I store or I’ll end up with trash in my crafting supplies. Some trash is benign and simply gets in the way, but other trash can be messy or damaging (think wet paint or glue). And if I try to take a shortcut and just jam everything in the same place without sorting, the bad may very well ruin the good.
And so it is with life. Sometimes, we have junk in our lives. You know. Sin. I know, it’s very unpopular to talk about sin, but the Bible talks about it, so sometimes I think it just needs to be addressed. I know some “grace junkies” who seem to believe that it doesn’t matter what you do or how you live because God’s grace is going to cover it. And then there’s the other end of the spectrum that would have you live in fear of mistepping because God may punish you. My friends, both these guys have it wrong.
Our God is a loving God. He wants what’s best for us. Giving us a list of do’s and don’t’s wasn’t about keeping us from having fun, it was about protecting us and helping us be the best we can be in these earthly bodies. For example, any good mom will tell her child not to touch a hot stove. It’s not because she wants to curtail fun, it’s because she knows that the hot stove will be detrimental. And that’s what God has done for us – He’s given us some things that aren’t going to be good for us.
What is sin? Oh! What a big question! Far too large to tackle here! But, the short answer is given in James. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:17). When asked to define sin, Billy Graham gave an answer that I think sums it up really well. He said, “A sin is any thought or action that falls short of God’s will. God is perfect, and anything we do that falls short of His perfection is sin.”
Oh boy. That seems impossible, doesn’t it? Well, sometimes it is. I used to believe that we are sinners and we’re going to sin everyday and there’s no way around it. But, I have come to believe and understand that a savior who tells us to sin no more is going to be willing to give us the ability to not sin. But, 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Oh wait….what??? I don’t have to sin? That was a revolutionary thought!
But, sometimes I don’t hang on to Jesus and I do sin and then I have a decision to make. I can hang onto my sin and keeping sinning, I can hide my sin or I can just deal with it and allow God to forgive me and give me the strength to endure next time. Let’s use my crafting clutter analogy to talk about all of these options.
Think about never sorting and cleaning up after a crafting project is done. The mess is everywhere. At Christmastime at my house, you can see this in action! I tend to have several things going on at once and we having crafting clutter everywhere! The remains of it will stick around for weeks until sometime in January, when my life finally starts slowing down and I declare, “enough! I’ve got to deal with this!” Until I deal with it, though, all you have to do is walk through my house to see what I’ve been up to! Blatant sin is like that. Everyone sees it and you get to the point that you’ve justified that it’s okay and you don’t care who knows what you’re doing. The thing is, you’re tired of the clutter and you desperately desire peace.
Now, what if we “clean” but we just stick our clutter in pretty boxes and stack them against the wall? Just like I said earlier, that doesn’t make it go away. The trash will start stinking up everything else. Hidden sin is the same way. Everyone may not know what you’re doing, but after a while, it’s going to start affecting everything. Hiding sin is exhausting work. And, as a pastor friend of mine used to say, “what’s in the well will come up in the bucket.” The Bible says it this way, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.“ (Matthew 12:34b). So, if you have hidden sin, it’s going to start showing. You can’t speak love and peace and joy if you’re so entangled with sin that it has started ruining everything else in your life!
Those options don’t look too good to me. What’s the answer, then? Let Jesus have it. He died for it already, so why not hand it to Him and let Him deal with it? Why carry a burden you were never meant to carry? Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.“ (John 8:33-36). Acts 3:19 says, “ Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Refreshing. Oh! I like the sound of that!
So, my dear friends, did any of this speak to you? Hand it to Jesus. If you have something stinking up your life, deal with it now! Let Jesus break those chains! And if you need someone to help pray you through, contact me, I will love and pray you right to the feet of Jesus.
And, my dear friends, if someone in this situation reaches out to you, love them. Pray for them. Hold them when they cry. And rejoice with them when they get free. Because that’s what it’s all about – being free to do what God has called us to do….love.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!