Have you ever watched the tv show Hoarders? I have and it’s disturbing. No condemnation for those of you who might fall into the category of hoarder. I don’t recommend the show unless you have a strong stomach, but I would like to tell you a little bit about it.
The premise of the show is that a person has a house that’s so completely full of “stuff” that they can’t live in it safely anymore. Items are stacked from floor to ceiling in room after room, with just a tiny path to walk through the house. The person seems unwilling or unable to part with all the items that have been accumulated.
In fact, the disclaimer at the beginning of the show says, “Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder marked by an obsessive need to acquire and keep things, even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary.” (As I said, I don’t really recommend watching.)
In the show, the person agrees to stop hoarding but just agreeing to stop doesn’t make everything magically disappear. Usually there is quite a struggle to release the things the hoarder feels they can’t live without. Usually by the end of the 30 minute episode the house has been cleared out and cleaned up. Much of the stockpile has been disposed of, and the viewer is always left to wonder if the person will once again start to hoard and soon be back to old habits again.
I don’t like to admit it but sometimes I feel like a hoarder. Not in my actual house, but in my heart, mind, and soul. I allow certain things to pile up in my “temple” that have no business residing there, and before long I am crowding out the abundant life that God promised when I surrendered everything to Him. What do I mean?
I’m talking about
- Resentment toward someone
- Negative self-talk that comes from the enemy
- Fear of the unknown
- Anger that hasn’t been dealt with
- Selfishness that keeps the focus inward
Not just thoughts and feelings, but stuff like
- What I watch
- What I listen to
I think you get the point.
Do you think that you’re missing out on the joy and the peace that you want to have in Christ because you’re holding on to things you need to get rid of? Does your spiritual house need a cleaning out too? Have you let some of these make their home in your heart?
- White lies, untruths, half-truths
- Gossip and slander
- Unconfessed continuing sin
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:25,31
Don’t lose heart, though. Here are 3 steps we can take to get rid of the “stuff” that keeps us from fully experiencing the life that God intends for us.
1) Realize and confess that we have let other things into our “temple” that don’t belong.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Psalms 51:3-4
2) Surrender our “stuff” to God to be removed and disposed of. The more we give Him, the more we are purified and experience God’s forgiveness.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Colossians 3:5-8
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalms 103:12 NASB1995
3) Ask God to perform a cleanup after the cleanout because there may be residual damage to our hearts that only God can heal. He is so ready to clean out and clean up so that we can become more like Him.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalms 51:10
I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Jeremiah 33:6,8
We need to repeat these steps periodically to keep from falling into old habits. We must keep watch over our hearts and minds and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal when we are bringing things into our “temple” that we need to release. As we do this, God will replace the yucky, trashy stuff with His love, joy, and peace.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:19
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 NIV