A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth. (Proverbs 14:6)
Because of his prejudices and preconceived notions, a scorner cannot know the truth. Like the Pharisees of the New Testament, he’s not really after it. Rather than looking for the Lord, he’s looking for loopholes and reasons to mock and to question the truth. However, that inability to see God’s truth is not limited to scorners. Many well-meaning truth-seekers have a similar problem because they too bring prejudices and preconceived notions to the table. They have too much junk in the way.
Because of recent changes that have come into our lives, my wife and I have a need to downsize. It’s not as easy an undertaking as it sounds because it’s not always a matter of getting rid of physical junk; it’s also a matter of getting past some of the emotion attached to it.
Most of life consists in the gathering of stuff.
If you have ever had to move, you know what I mean. Stay in any place even more than five years and it is surprising the amount of stuff you accumulate without even trying! Spiritually, we can be the same way if we are not constantly getting rid of things that should not be there.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15)
Left to ourselves, we think what is there in our lives is perfectly fine. Only looking at our lives through God’s lens can really give us a clear perspective. Even then, that perspective can only help us if we are willing to live by it.
Not all the junk we accumulate is bad; it’s just bad for us
My wife and I must go through our stuff and give it all a hard and objective overview. One rule of thumb we are holding ourselves to is this: If we have not missed it in the last three to six months we can likely get on for the rest of our lives without it. That’s a lot of stuff! And if we look at our spiritual lives in the same way, there are a lot of things we allow into our lives that we really can do without.
(14) It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
(15) There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
We need that three-to-six-month rule because even as we go through our old junk, we are reminded sometimes of how valuable it was to us at the time. Some of the old justifications for getting that bauble in the first place come rushing back. “Oh! I remember when I got this! I got it because…. And it’s still useful now because….” But, when you compare it to God’s big picture, it’s really just junk. There are entertainments, hobbies and distractions that we can justify to ourselves a hundred times over that really do nothing to advance the cause of Christ. It’s not to say all the stuff is bad, or that it’s all wrong to have, but if it’s weighing us down or keeping us from staying focused, it’s bad for us.
Most of what we accumulate we really can do without.
One of the first things we went through was our collection of books. When we pared things down in one of our bookcases, we actually had room on the shelves! For the first time in years, the bookshelf did not look overcrowded. Most of what we got rid of probably could have gone by the wayside after the first read.
(7) And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
(8) And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
(9) But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
When Jesus sent His disciples out to spread the news of the gospel, He took a very minimalist approach. His disciples were to go out with just the clothes on their backs, the staff in their hands and the shoes on their feet. Nothing else. Jesus wanted His disciples to trust Him for what they really needed. Most of our lives are spent thinking wants are the same as needs and when our prayers go unanswered, we think God has let us down when really He’s just trying to free us of unnecessary burdens. It’s again a case of our perception of what we think we need to make life work and God’s understanding of what we really need.
To get rid of all the junk, follow up is required.
You know, it’s one thing to say: “We need to get rid of all this junk” and another to actually make it happen. Getting rid of junk and organizing a yard sale is a lot of work! Much of it is unpleasant, but to benefit from the advantages of downsizing means not just making the hard choices but following through with them.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Humanly speaking, Jesus had one of the worst recruiting programs of all times. People were coming to Him all the time saying they would be His disciple, and every time He would give them reasons not to join up! It makes no sense until you realize what was at stake. By the end of His ministry, the fate of the world would be placed in human hands. Even at the time of His crucifixion, of the eleven disciples Jesus had chosen, only one would be at the cross. As for the other eleven, one had betrayed Him to the cross, one denied Him at His trial and the rest had scattered, and these were His handpicked crew! If these men failed, the gospel of Jesus Christ would die out at the cross. Thankfully, God has a way of helping us follow things through even when we fail. Not even death was able to stop our Savior from accomplishing His purpose! As promised, Jesus rose victorious from the grave on the third day, and while there was no hope for Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus to the cross, Peter – the man who had denied Him – was restored to fellowship and through the power of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon His disciples, the gospel spread and turned the world upside down.
We can have the truth if we will accept it on God’s terms
For my wife and I to reap the benefits of our downsizing, we must make and follow through some tough choices. In the end, they will be beneficial even though the process may seem hard. For us to benefit from God’s truth, we must be willing to see things the way God sees them and discard all the junk that is distracting us from Him.