Lucia's Blog: SOUL DECLUTTERING
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, January 24, 2019

SOUL DECLUTTERING


"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; 
and all these things shall be added to you."  
Matthew 6:33


Martha was distracted with much serving. Jesus gently rearranged her priorities saying, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” The Lord might say the same to you and me when we are distracted by the many things that trouble us. Only one thing is necessary and we must choose that good portion.

A new year encourages us to think of a fresh start in doing better than we did last year. One of the things that we do is assess the value of our routine activities and the value of things that we have. So often, we forget what matters most for us as children of God because we are preoccupied with so many worldly activities.  Our "to do" lists become overwhelming and exhaustive.  We find ourselves in a labyrinth without a way out.  Rather than piling layers onto each day, why don't we start seeking God’s Kingdom first and His righteousness?   Then, start adding what is needed in our lives to seek God and His kingdom of righteousness.  Let us strip away everything that would distract us from seeking what we ought to, God and His righteousness.  Satan uses things like technology, shopping, and entertainment to keep us busy and distracted. In a few words everything that appeals to satisfy the desires of the flesh.  Remember, if we don't stop seeking to please the desires of the flesh, we cannot seek God first, and our lives cannot have the perfect order God has intended for us.  It is about time we start seeking and serving with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength the One who matters the most!

Jesus spoke about material riches or possessions more than marriage, politics, work, sexual immorality, and power.  He stressed the problem and danger of riches and material possessions, for they become a stumbling block to the path of righteousness that God demands that we walk.  Our Father in heaven wants us to seek His heavenly treasures rather than the treasures of this world.  Jesus came to this earth to show and teach us how to walk His path of righteousness so that we may become partakers with Him in His kingdom of righteousness as His faithful servants.  Are you committed to Jesus?  Or are you heavily burdened with daily schedules, and consumed by earthly commitments?  Are our jobs, spouses, children, housekeeping, school, athletics and many other distracting things such as these robbing us of our commitment and loyalty to God?   So why not slow down and think about your priorities and commitments?  Are you allowing daily commitments, burdens to become more important than God and His kingdom of righteousness?  Are your daily commitments distracting you and keeping you from serving God with all of your heart and soul?  Are you piling up too many commitments that distract you from worshiping on Sunday and attending Wednesday evening Bible study? Are you really committing your whole life to Jesus and His kingdom of righteousness? Setting our earthly commitments as priorities over God and His kingdom of righteousness hinders our service and commitment to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We must not fall into the trap of allowing our everyday commitments to take away from Him whose blood was shed on that cruel cross for us! 

While there is nothing wrong with having responsibilities and obligations in life, and showing commitment, dedication and loyalty to them, there is danger of neglecting our commitment, service, and faithfulness to God and His kingdom of righteousness.  Every faithful servant of God wants to hear his Lord say on that final day, “Well done, good and faithful servant…….enter into the joy of your master.”  (Matt 25:23). Unfortunately, the world's yoke is heavy, and its burdens are hard.  Don't you think it is time to start decluttering our souls of all the unnecessary earthly heaps of stuff that we have accumulated?  It is not God's!  We must trust our God and start taking His yoke so that we may find rest for our weary souls.  Remember, His yoke is easy, and His burden is light, Matthew 11:29.
"Peace I live with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."  (John 14:27).

Let us consider what seeking first the kingdom God, and His righteousness really means.  To accomplish this task, we must declutter ourselves of earthly pleasures to fill ourselves with the righteousness of God and His peace.  We must refuse to become prey of the falsely gratifying focus of our carnal interests, for they enslave us to the flesh with its earthly desiresRemember, all these things will pass away one day!  My question is, why do we seek earthly treasures and insist on keeping them, fearing that we might miss something?  Why do we deceive ourselves into thinking that if we don't satisfy our immediate wants and needs, we are missing out on something great?  Sadly, with this way of thinking, we are really missing out on what is more important: our God, His righteousness and His kingdom.  My plea to you is to not miss out on God and His righteousness!  So strip away everything else and start seeking God and His kingdom of righteousness.  I can assure you He will help us through His everlasting Grace to rebuild what has been broken.  He will help us restore what is vital for our soul, our heart, our mind, our families, His church, our peace and everything that must be of great importance for the renewing and regeneration of our souls.  So how can we declutter our soul from all these layers of distraction and commitments to serve God better and be committed to His kingdom of righteousness? 


 I.   WE MUST SEEK GOD FIRST AND HIS KINGDOM OF RIGHTEOUSNESS:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  22 The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.  25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  (Matthew 6:19-34).

Although we live in this world, God has commanded Christians to not let the world affect their primary goal of seeking Him and His kingdom of righteousness.  So how do we accomplish this?  By not compromising our faith with this world’s distractions.  In 1 Peter 2:11-12, we are urged “to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”   Since we Christians are aliens or foreigners, we must become counter-cultural and refuse to fit in.  We must be holy and separate from the world, for we are aliens whose light must shine brightly in this world’s darkness.  “A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).  We must set our priorities to seek God first and His kingdom, making changes in our recreational activities, friendships, actions, jobs, for we must guard our influence and our hearts.  We must commit to serve the Lord above everything and anyone else.  Jesus has given us a simple command about what we must pursue.  We must refuse to pursue the things of this world, storing up for ourselves treasures on earth but rather we must start storing up treasures in heaven.
  •  Two Treasures:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21).

In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus begins with a simple command, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.”   Does this mean that we’re not allowed to have any possessions or possess any excess at all?  Jesus doesn't condemn owning possessions in this verse, though the danger is in the pursuit of possessions. It is the accumulation of possessions on earth where there is a significant danger, for it will take our hearts away from God and His kingdom of righteousness.  We must refuse to make treasures on earth but instead make treasures in heaven.  Jesus wants us to examine our hearts to find out where our treasures are, earth or heaven.  Nothing that we accumulate on earth lasts, whether it is a car, a house, iPhones, clothes, education, a job, sports, entertainment, family, wealth and many other things such as these that distract us from our heavenly goals.  You see, all these things get old, wear down and do not possess lasting value, for they are temporary and wear out. They cannot satisfy us, for they are not durable!  By contrast, the treasures of heaven are permanent and lasting, for they can never wear out.  The truth is that when we die, nothing, nothing material will matter!  What value will all our wealth and possessions have for us when we die? This is why Jesus urges us to set our priorities in order, for He wants us to treasure His heavenly treasures since those are the only lasting treasures.  There is a problem and danger I see, and that is that greed is subtle.  And though it is true that material possessions are essential, we run the risk of accumulating or storing up treasures on earth whose only purpose is to captivate our hearts and minds.  We must examine our hearts with real honesty and ask ourselves what do we love, prize and desire the most?  Are they eternal riches or earthly riches?  Jesus gives us the answer on verse 21, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   What we treasure here on earth is where our heart and soul is, for what we treasure the most indicates where the heart is.  You see, having possessions is not the problem. The problem is in what our hearts are seeking after: heaven or earth, spiritual things or earthly things.  What rules our heart is what rules our behavior, for what we treasure will control our hearts.
  • Two Eyes:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”  (Matthew 6:22-23).

As we read verse 22, it will be easier to think that Jesus is changing the subject, but if we read this verse more carefully, we will notice that He hasn’t changed His discussion about treasures in heaven.  Jesus warns His hearers about serving God and not money.  He starts out by stating, “The eye is the lamp of the body.” He says that when the eye is healthy, then our whole body will receive and be full of light.  But when our eye is bad, our whole body will be full of darkness.  He implies the focus of our eyes.  What are we looking at in life?  What is our primary focus?  When we treasure wealth and material possessions, our hearts will show our spiritual condition.  Material riches must not be hoarded or accumulated, for they are all the blessings from God for us to enjoy and use wisely to advance the work of God’s kingdomThe condition of the eye determines how much light or darkness our body is receiving.  It reflects the condition of the eyes of our heart and what may be blocking or hindering our spiritual vision.  You see, Jesus is telling us that when money and possessions are above Him and His kingdom of righteousness, we have a serious problem that cannot be fixed unless we repent.  What our eyes treasure affects our hearts, for what we focus on affects our heart. This is why lust corrupts the heart. Wealth and material gain corrupt the heart. Envy and jealousy corrupt the heart. Rivalry corrupts the heart. So we must stop looking at these things and setting our hearts on these things.
  • Two Masters: 
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”  (Matthew 6:24).

Jesus presents us with a truth here that must not be rejected but accepted.  “No one can serve two masters.” It is impossible to serve a master properly with a divided heartEither I am seeking after the treasures of this earth for my joy and satisfaction, or I am seeking after God for my joy and satisfaction. We cannot be faithful slaves to both!  Either we will serve God above self, or we will serve self above God. There is no middle ground, for there is no other option.  Why?  Because the things of this world are enemies and rivals to our love for God.  Money and material possessions are the greatest rivals of our love for God. When we think that money will bring us security, peace, happiness, and joy rather than God, we are turning against God’s love because we look to money to bring us these things, instead of looking to God.  We despise God and stop serving Him (1 Thessalonians 1:9).  We cannot store up treasures in both places, for our devotion must be toward God alone and His kingdom.

We cannot serve God and also serve something else or someone else, for there must be only One who sits on the throne of our hearts.  It is either God on the throne of our heart, or it is self that is on the throne! They cannot coexist.  That is why Jesus stresses that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. The only One that can rule our heart and life is God.  Jesus wants His disciples to examine their hearts and see where their treasures are.  There are two ways of life, two treasures.  Is your heart laying up treasure on earth or heaven?  There are two focal points for the eyes.  Are our eyes light or darkness? There are two masters also.  Are we serving God or money?
  • Do Not Be Anxious:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25).

Though it might seem that Jesus is changing the subject in verses 19-24, His train of thought is still centered on our priorities. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, and though His disciples live in the world, they still must do God’s will and not be anxious about accumulating possessions, for they harm and destroy the heart.  Jesus does not want us to worry and be anxious about what we possess, for He wants all of our heart Verses 19-24 urge us to not focus only on accumulating treasures on earth, for they quickly become our master and steal our faith, our heavenly treasures and our service to our true MasterVerses 25-34 show how being anxious about the material things of this world weakens our faith and takes our hearts away from seeking righteousness and the kingdom of God.  Jesus commands us to not be anxious, for He wants us to devote our care to seeking Him and His righteousness.  Although we will have cares and worries or anxieties here on earth, we still must pursue His heavenly treasures and serve Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind.

In verse 24, Jesus previously had said that we cannot serve both God and money.  In verse 25, He begins with the word, “therefore.”  He reminds us that our hearts are drawn away from Him toward money and material riches because of worry and anxiety.  You see, when our hearts doubt God’s provisions (food, drink, clothing, verse 31), we fall into deep anxiety.  When we worry and fear for the future, stress takes over, and we become anxious, and our focus is no longer on heavenly things, and God’s kingdom but on earthly things, the money that we think will calm our fears and anxieties.  We must get rid of all layers of distractions and worries about careers, school, health, the economy, financial security, retirement, and many things such as these that draw our hearts away from God and His kingdom.  We run the danger of becoming the thorny ground of Matthew 13:22 where “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”  We deceive ourselves into thinking that the answer to our fears and worries is found in our own strength or the accumulation of more material riches or money.  Our anxieties become so powerful that they threaten to take control of our lives leaving us no escape.  Although Jesus understands our anxieties, He still commands us not to be anxious over earthly or physical things but spiritual ones.  He proceeds with a question, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25).
  • Reasons To Not Be Anxious:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”'  (Matthew 6:25-32).
In verses 26, 28-30, Jesus gives us four reasons why worry is pointless since the Father provides what we need.

  1. The first reason Jesus gives us comes from nature, verses 26-30. Jesus asks us to consider the birds. Birds do not sow, reap, or gather into barns or refrigerators and yet God always feeds them.  In verses 28-30. Jesus asks us to consider the flowers. They do zero work yet God clothes them more beautifully than the richest of kings.  God has made man to sow, reap, and gather.  He has made us in His image and more valuable than all plants and animals.  Our heavenly Father has provided an abundance of plants, animals, and humans for thousands of years. Knowing all this, do you doubt that our Father in heaven will not also provide what we need for food and clothing?  Do we dare to doubt His consistent and continuing provision for us? Do we dare to doubt that God will give us what we need?  He did not create us to abandon us and watch us die!  He created us to live!  So He will provide. Jesus stresses that worry is a matter of faith and trust, for our Father in heaven is in control of what we need.  
  2. Jesus’ second reason for not worrying is found in verse 27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”  Worry and anxiety accomplish nothing!  Worry doesn’t fix our problems, but it can make us sick.  We cannot add one hour to the span of our lives no matter how intensely we worry. This ought to free us from our cares and worries.  We have little power to control our future. Worry shows our lack of faith (verse 30). 
  3. Jesus’ third reason is a grave reminder about the dangers of anxiety.  Jesus labels those who are always anxious as people of little faith. Anxiety is a lack of trust. Why? Because when we worry about God’s providential care, we are doubting His love, care, and power in our lives.  Worry is an affront to God. What good does it do to wear the name of Christ, and defend our faith fiercely if we allow worry and anxiety to plague our life? Our faith means very little, for we refuse to put it into practice when we worry and do not have a trusting faith in our Father in heaven.  
  4. Jesus’ fourth reason is that worry or anxiety make us look like the world (verses 31-32). “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”  Seeking after food, drink, and clothing is what Gentiles do. Their lives are consumed with the cares of this world.  What else does a godless person live for? They believe in nothing else but to seek food, drink, and clothing! For the godless (Gentiles) having no food, drink and clothing means death and no meaning in life.  Christians have learned that life has more meaning and purpose, for they are God’s children.  But when we Christians worry, we are telling God that we do not trust Him, and thus our faith is small.  Our purpose in life is not in God and His kingdom of righteousness but in empty and carnal pleasures.  Worry and anxiety are for those who are without Christ!  Our faith and our trust in God makes us shine our light.  Worry and anxiety take away our trust in our heavenly Father and make us look like the world, for they have not God!
  • But Seek First The Kingdom of God:
“33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)

In verse 25, Jesus stresses that life is more than food and clothing, our basic needs.  Worrying about these basic needs distracts our hearts from what life is truly about. This is parallel to accumulating treasures on earth, for they can distract us from accumulating treasures in heaven.   Worrying about life’s basic needs puts our primary focus on earthly things and distracts us from God’s purpose in life for us, seeking Him and His kingdom of righteousness.  You see, the urgency of our worries and anxieties about our basic needs in life hinder us from seeking the kingdom of God and the pursuit of righteousnessOur lives were created to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  It is what matters the most in this life!  Though food, drink sustains us, and clothing covers our physical bodies, we must not make these things more important than the real food God gives us, for we must be filled with and clothed with His Words of righteousness.  When we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all of life’s basic needs will be added to us.  Jesus has promised to provide for our physical needs when we seek what is most important, Him and His kingdom.  So why must we be so consumed with filling our physical needs when He has promised He will give them to us? Why be so consumed with worry and anxiety? Jesus chips away our worry, for the Father will provide what we need that we may focus on what is really more important in life.  Obviously, contentment must be a ruling factor when we consider our Father’s provisions. We must learn to be content with what He provides for us!  We have an exhortation in 1 Timothy 6:8, “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”  We get ourselves in trouble when we crave and expect more than this, not being content with what we have.  We must learn to be content and enjoy what our Father in heaven provides for us!  Our Lord has graciously blessed us with more than we deserve!  We must remember that we entered this world with nothing!  In doing this, we can rest assured that we will be content and free of worry and anxiety.

So we must worry and be anxious about the things of God, the heavenly things in His kingdom of righteousness.  We must seek righteousness instead of worldly things or pursuits.  The pursuit of righteousness is seen throughout the Sermon on the Mount in Christ’s teachings as expressed in the beatitudes. Jesus stresses the need for us to hunger and thirst after righteousness. One who is truly hungry longs for and craves food. When we crave for righteousness, we will be driven to be holy, for it will rule our thoughts, reading, and actions. When we seek after righteousness, we will be merciful, for righteousness compels us to treat others with mercy.  Mercy is an attitude that springs from the heart of a renewed person who has experienced God’s mercy and desires to show it even to his enemies. Christians are blessed when they seek purity of heart. So we must seek to become the light of the world and to love our enemies. When we seek after righteousness, we will not have time for worry and anxiety, for our hearts will be filled with thoughts of righteousness.  There won’t be any need to worry because we know the Lord will provide food and shelter if we seek Him first and His righteousnessWe must free our hearts from the layers of worry in our lives and focus more on the essential things, the things of God’s kingdom.  We must meditate more on His Word, show mercy in our words, fill our lives with spiritual things instead of physical and earthly desires and meditate on what God has done for us through His Son.  Worry and anxiety spring from a faithless heart that’s filled with the things of this world.  We must choose to win over worry and anxiety, allowing our heart to stand firm with trust in the Lord.  God is able to carry us through our difficult and trying times, giving us hope for today.  When we seek after God and His righteousness, we can rest assured that He will provide for our needs.  We will never find righteousness in the worries of this world! We will find the Lord’s provision when we seek after His kingdom!
  • Tomorrow Will Be Anxious For Itself:
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  (Matthew 6:34).

The final instruction that helps us to fight and eliminate worry and anxiety is found in verse 34. What an excellent way to close the book of our worries and anxieties!  But you might say, “You don’t understand! I have so much to do tomorrow! Tomorrow is Monday! I have this and that…”  Jesus tells us to lay our concerns about tomorrow or any day afterward to rest, for we cannot control what tomorrow might bring. If we run out of bread tomorrow, then we will deal with that tomorrow!  We cannot solve tomorrow’s problems today!  We must compel our minds to do what we need to focus on today and let God take care of the rest. Since we have only today, we are commanded by God to seek His kingdom and righteousness.  It will be impossible to seek God today when our hearts and minds are so full of tomorrow’s worries and anxieties.  We must focus on what is important, not the future things of this world that seem so urgent to us.  Jesus urges us to not be anxious about tomorrow because tomorrow is tomorrow and it is not today!  We have what we need for today!  Let tomorrow worry about tomorrow! Today has enough trouble!  So we must learn to deal with today and live for today, taking advantage of today and being grateful for what God has given us today.  We cannot fix tomorrow, for worry will not change tomorrow!  Remember, God is in control of tomorrow. And we must handle what God has given us today by faith. Anything could happen tomorrow, but nothing might happen tomorrow!

The Teacher of Ecclesiastes exhorts us saying that life is just the same tomorrow as it was today. So why must we worry?  Tomorrow might be different than today, and there is nothing you and I can do to change it!  So we must not worry about what is beyond our reach. Instead, we must put our hope and trust in God for today and for whatever comes our way whether be good or bad.  Why not choose to trust our Father in heaven instead of being anxious, for we are His children whom He loves and cares for?  That ought to give us hope, for God shows His steadfast love and will not forsake us if we faithfully seek after Him and His kingdom of righteousness.  So we must choose to serve Him and be devoted to Him, for everything in this life belongs to Him, everything we do must be done for Him according to His will.  He will provide for our needs, for He is all powerful and can help us overcome all our struggles and hardships.  Thus, examine your heart and choose to commit your life to Him and not this world, for God will help us be established, putting us on His winning teamWe don’t dare to bargain with God under any circumstance but commit to serving Him faithfully by drawing nearer to Him (James 4:8).  Remember, that a life that pleases God is a life that is empty of materialism and worry, for we must store up treasures in heaven and not on earth (Matthew 6:19-24).


CONCLUSION:

Our culture shamelessly seeks after earthly things. The primary goal in life for the worldly is to accumulate and store up material riches and the things of this world rather than decluttering their souls of all such layers of distraction and to accumulate lasting treasures that will truly satisfy them.   In Matthew 6:19-24 Jesus is urging us to not accumulate treasures on earth but treasures in heaven, for they are true and long-lasting.  Jesus tells us why it is not wise to be concerned about accumulating treasures on earth.  He wants us to store up for ourselves heavenly treasures.   Jesus stresses the reasons why we must not be anxious and worried but instead have faith and trust that God will take care of our needs.  He wants this to be our focal point in life.  Worry does not trust God.  When we don’t trust God, having faith, we’re in danger of taking all matters into our own hands. So we become anxious and worried about what we must do to find the solutions to our problems.  The most popular solution is, “don’t worry, be happy,”  “keep calm and play volleyball” or something else.  So it is met with a response, “I can’t keep calm; I have anxiety!”   So how do we overcome anxiety and worry?  Not by accumulating possessions, money and anything else that is earthly.  It will not work!  How can we find peace, remove all layers of distraction that clutter our souls from the peace of God, the peace that frees us from all the cares and anxieties of this world?

To remove everything that clutters our soul, we must first accept that life is more than accumulating stuff (Matthew 6:25).  That is materialistic and shallow!  How sad it is to find our worth and identify in the empty things of this earth:  car, house, the clothes we wear, education, prestige or recognition and many other distracting things such as these that hinder our entrance in the kingdom of God and His righteousness!  How sad and vain to pursue these things! “Man does not live on bread alone” (Matthew 4:4).  We must not live by food alone but depend on God for life and breath!  We must remind ourselves constantly that our Heavenly Father cares for us (Matthew 6:26).  It is the only way to defeat worry and anxiety.  Jesus used the birds to illustrate this great truth.  Birds do not store up treasures in barns and houses and yet are fed by our Father in heaven.  So if our gracious Father feeds these tiny creatures, will He not care for us?!  Are we not more valuable than the birds?!  So how much more will our Father in heaven care for us!  He cares and provides for all His awesome creation, but we must develop faith, trusting that God will also care for us!  So if we believe that our heavenly Father cares for us, why do we worry and get anxious?  We must learn to trust in Him and faithfully put our lives in His hands!  We must trust in God and refuse to worry and be anxious, for it does not do any good for us. It hurts us (Matthew 6:27).  Worry is pointless and does not solve our problems.   Worry and anxiety cannot solve the past or change the future.  Jesus doesn't want us to worry about possessions or money, what will we eat, drink and wear (Matt. 6:25).  We must combat worry and anxiety and start acknowledging that our God will take care of our needs, for He will clothe us (Matt. 6:28-30).  We must consider the flowers of the fields.  They do not sow or reap or clothe themselves. Yet they are beautiful and splendid, for God covers them!  So if our gracious God adorns the flowers and the grass, will He not do the same to His faithful children?   In Matthew 6:30, Jesus exhorts us saying, But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”  Indeed, this is a true fact! Worrying about these material things shows a lack of faith in God.  God is our heavenly Father, and there is nothing to worry and be anxious about!

So why do we clutter our souls with life’s possessions and worry about them? We do this because we have little faith and do not trust God.  In doing this, we are behaving like the world, the Gentiles (Matthew 6:31-32).  Earthly possessions are what the world strives for and worries about.  God’s faithful children think and behave differently, for they know they must be the salt of the earth and the light of this world of darkness. When we lose our light and salt, we are good for nothing (Matthew 5:13). When we clutter our souls with the worries of this world such as money, food, clothing, and our bodies, we start looking like the world that does not believe in the Creator.  One thing that will keep us from worrying is acknowledging that our heavenly Father knows what we need (Matthew 6:32).  It is a test of our faith!  God knows what we need tomorrow, so there is nothing to worry about tomorrow!  So we must fight worry and anxiety to have a much higher perspective or goal, for we must first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness above everything else (Matt. 6:33).  God alone is worthy of our total devotion and service, not wealth or possessions. We seek His kingdom when we submit our will to His.   Seeking God and His righteousness is the opposite of pursuing worldly things.  All those things that we need will be added to us when we seek God and His kingdom of righteousness.  We must trust God and have faith rather than being anxious about tomorrow because tomorrow is tomorrow, for it is not today.  We have what we need for today!  Let tomorrow worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble!  We must handle what God has given us today by faith So why must we worry and be anxious about what is beyond our reach?  Why not put our trust and hope in God alone, come what may?

Therefore, it is time to start being wise by seeking what must be the most important thing in our lives, God and His kingdom of righteousness.  It is time to stop wasting away the real life that God has graciously given to us to live abundantly to His glory; time to awaken from our slumber and arise from the dead; time to start walking carefully and wisely; time to start making the most of our time because the days are evil; time to start understanding what the will of God is by reading, studying and meditating on His Word daily; time to do His will to be blessed by Him and not be put to shame; time to be filled with His Spirit and be walking in His Spirit in order to stop pleasing the desires of the flesh; time to start letting the light of righteousness shine before a world of darkness; time to start being more grateful for all that our Father in heaven has done for us through His Son; time to start honoring our marriages by husbands loving their wives just as Christ loved the church; likewise time for wives to start honoring their husbands by submitting to their husbands as unto Christ; time for children to honor their parents in the Lord; time for parents to stop provoking their children to anger and start admonishing and instructing them in the Lord; time to start putting on the whole armor of God with its defensive and offensive weapons of warfare in order to stand firm against the schemes of our enemy, the devil; time to start praying more fervently and with perseverance for our souls and the souls of others; time to not lose heart in doing well for in due time we shall reap; time to do good to all men especially our brethren; time to start proclaiming the Good News of redemption for all men to make known its boldness, simplicity and purity; time to start freeing ourselves from the slavery of sin through faith in Christ.  Finally, it is time to start examining ourselves, our souls and start sowing well to the Spirit and not the flesh to reap well and not be deceived because God cannot be mocked.  This is precisely what the kingdom of God and His righteousness is all about.

We must make it our goal to start living our lives here on earth according to His divine will.  God doesn't want us to live our lives in our own self-induced exhaustion, with a "to do" list, composed mostly of fleshly desires.  He wants us to seek His desires for our days here on earth.  Our Creator doesn't want His children to maintain a frenzied pace of living.  He knows and sees when we live like that.  This makes it difficult to listen to and obey Him!  Through His Grace, He provides our shelter, our peace and abundant living water, enough to sustain us while we live in this, our bodily tabernacle.  He is a wise God, who knows and sets up perfectly His order for us because He knows what is good for us.  "Seek first the kingdom... " is not a suggestion, but a command for our lives, our souls, to have greater peace, meaning, and purpose in our paths that lead to life and not death.  This is God's primary purpose for us.  Therefore, let us purpose in our heart, soul, and mind, to trust Him enough to walk in His paths of righteousness, that ultimately lead to the complete de-cluttering of our souls, even though this may not be the most popular path.

May we put fewer earthly burdens on our shoulders that our LORD has never asked us to carry.  May He show us and lead us into the path of righteousness He intends for us to walk each day to find joy and peace.  May we find that peace and rest for our soul by decluttering it of all unnecessary burdens and take His yoke. May we learn from Him for He is gentle and humble in heart.  May we seek His kingdom and His righteousness and trust in His promises to bless us.

Luci


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