Saturday, April 19, 2008

Keeping Stuff vs. the Mercy of God

Since we moved, 2 1/2 years ago to a considerably smaller space, I have been laboring to get rid of all kinds of unnecessary things. Last spring I went through my storage shed and found that I had boxes and bins and boxes and bins of baby clothes, receipts, scraps that I had written on, old toys (even some of mine!), textbooks, school papers, etc, that I never looked at and suddenly realized that I was no longer attached to. So much of it seemed so pointless, so temporary, I couldn't see why I had bothered to haul it all around with me for so long.

I gave quite a bit of thought to this phenomenon, because in the past, I have always been so sentimental that the very thought of losing any of these things would bring tears to my eyes. I couldn't figure out why my perspective had changed so much. Then it hit me--the last time I really went through these items with an eye to what I really wanted to keep was before I became a Christian!

Wow! This was an incredible realization for me, and a demonstration of the mighty power of the Holy Spirit in a born-again believer--the power to transform thought patterns of a lifetime, without my even knowing it was happening. Yet another example of how the Lord never commands us to do what he doesn't give us the grace to accomplish. Matthew 6:19-21 tells us clearly that we are not be putting our love and hope in earthly things--and I think that that applies to things of no monetary value as well as money and fancy possessions. I had way, way too much invested in those items that I was saving.

Also, it's a demonstration of the mercies of the Lord. He could have accomplished His goal in me by causing me to be convicted that I didn't need these things, and then I would have had a painful "separation" from them as I tried to be obedient. But in His mercy, He changed my heart before I had to deal with the actual situation. Not all sinful patterns are resolved so easily. There are always struggles where I have to simply "mortify the flesh", and run to the Lord with the pain it causes, leaning heavily for the strength to continue. But I am so grateful that in this He allowed me to learn gently.

All this doesn't mean that I never save anything, never keep memorabilia. I have a box with a few special baby items, diaries, love letters from my husband, early drawings from the kids, etc. But I if something happens to that box, I'll be okay, because I'm truly beginning to know where my treasure must be.

No comments: