Out with the Old

When I arrived home after work on Tuesday I found Anita sitting on a stool in our bathroom, bottom drawer open in front of her, and completely focused on her task of cleaning out the junk in that drawer.  She was nearing the end of that job ... a garbage bag lay next to her full of all sorts of out of date medicines, ointments, creams, insect sprays, etc. as well as empty Band Aid boxes, random Q-tips that had escaped from their box, some old plastic Walmart bags, and other assorted trash that often ends up in bathroom drawers.  She soon finished and showed me the newly organized drawer.  I was amazed by a couple of things:  1 - the amount of junk that came out of it (I was surprised the drawer held as much as was in that trash bag) and 2 - the fact that I could now easily identify, locate, and find what I needed in the drawer.  That's the exciting news!  The depressing news is that there are probably 20 other drawers and cabinets that need the same treatment ... and that's not including closets!

Why do we accumulate so much junk?  Why do we hang on to the junk for so long?  As I pondered that bathroom drawer I reflected on my own life ... my own heart.  The Scripture says I've been made new, I've been regenerated by God's Spirit, I have a new heart.  And I believe all that to be true.  So then why do I so often feel the need to accumulate and hang on to so much "junk" that is so out of accord with the new life I have in Christ?  As I pause and examine my life I almost envision many "drawers, cabinets, and closets" where I store things of no value, things that are outdated (i.e. part of my old life prior to knowing Christ), things that are empty, things like bitterness and lust that are associated with the old life, things like greed and pride, things that serve no purpose other than to bring confusion and hinder my ability to see clearly what I need to do.  All this junk needs to be tossed out and my heart cleaned again even today.

I realize it's easier said than done and that we'd probably all rather clean out bathroom drawers than deal with the sin in our hearts.  When we honestly do it we're likely shocked at how much junk can come out!  But routine confession and repentance is also shockingly refreshing and helpful.  Let's all do some heart cleaning, examining every drawer and cabinet of the heart, and toss out the garbage that doesn't belong to those who know Jesus Christ!

A word of caution ... this process may reveal some ugly stuff, both in you and in others.  Remember to treat one another with the same grace you want them to treat you with when your sin is exposed.