There’s a lot of talk about Lent online and while I don’t observe Lent, I like the idea of focusing on the Lord in a concentrated way. One blogger noted that God doesn’t call us to give up coffee, He calls us to present our entire beings a living sacrifice. That’s our reasonable service.
I struggle with presenting my body a living sacrifice every day, because truth be told, my mind is sometimes pre-occupied.
Distraction is another word for pre-occupied. Pre-occupied shows that my heart’s bent is polarized towards other things. Small g-gods. Good things, maybe. But good things without a steadfast heart for God is a slippery slope into idolatry.
I spend my time thinking about what my heart loves and clings to.
I extend energy doing the things that I believe will bring me happiness.
My reasons/motives show what my heart is serving.
If my heart’s motives aren’t centered around Christ, and if I’m not weaning myself away from the distractions and preoccupations that crowd out Christ, my spiritual life is going nowhere fast. Scratch that. It’s going downhill.
That’s why it’s so very important for me to loosen the death grip of the things of this world.
Spring is coming and soon I’ll be spring cleaning. I’ll be getting rid of furniture that no longer works, deep cleaning areas that have been neglected, washing curtains and bedding, getting rid of excess and clutter.
In a spiritual sense, the same needs to be done to our souls. Our souls need spring cleaning.
We need to take a spiritual inventory. What needs to go? What needs to be cleaned? What’s been swept under the rug for too long? What is excess and clutter? And what is all of this stuff doing to my spiritual walk?
We are a pre-occupied group of Christians. And sometimes distraction is a mask for covering the emptiness that’s inside. We’re searching for satisfaction in things that can never satisfy. We live as though Christ were not enough. And the truth is, at that moment, Christ isn’t enough because we’ve developed a taste for carnal things instead of spiritual: like a child who only wants candy and soda instead of food that nourishes and promotes healthy growth.
I use Windex constantly to clean around my house. But sometimes the dirt won’t come off with Windex. Sometimes I need to take out the Soft Scrub or Bleach to really deep clean.
The same is true spiritually. Sometimes I may need to take more drastic measures. Perhaps admitting my own stubbornness, my lack of brokenness over my sin is a good start. Instead of brushing my indifference under the rug, I should shine God’s word on it and call it what it is: idolatry.
Perhaps you, too, may need to abstain from something that has the rule over you until it no longer has the victory over you. You may need to eliminate sinful preoccupations, thoughts and practices. Maybe something needs to be removed, like a critical spirit or harsh words. Maybe hypocrisy or poor use of time. Maybe you need to add godliness in an area of your life such as giving of praise and rejoicing rather than complaining. Maybe we need to be “set apart” to God which means separating from things God hates.
This is our reasonable service. We’ve been bought by something so precious that we can barely appreciate it in our sin-tainted, limited, “see through a glass darkly” earthly minds: The Precious Blood of the Lamb.
Someday in heaven, I suspect we’ll “see clearly” all that Christ has done for us, but for now, we trust. We trust God’s Word and His prescriptives for life. When we don’t understand, we obey anyway. We trust that His ways are all righteous and lead to an abundant live. And we walk in faith, which doesn’t always understand or see the end. It just obeys and leaves the results to God.