by Dyann Shepard
Recently, I was cleaning out the filter of my clothes dryer. Usually, I just pull the lint out, but I pulled the entire filter out and was shocked at all the packed-in lint. There was no doubt my dryer was being overworked, having to push air through extra lint. It made me ponder, “What kind of spiritual lint or clutter am I accumulating, slowing down the work of the Holy Spirit in my life?”
I have learned an indicator of spiritual clutter in my life is actual physical clutter. When I look around my office or home, and all I see are piles, I know I have pulled back control from the Holy Spirit. I feel overwhelmed. I don’t know where to begin to put order into my spiritual and physical life. I need to stop, take a deep breath, pray, and allow God to reveal what needs to be dealt with, beyond the obvious: like needing to hang up my clothes, put things in the proper file, etc. It is time to ask what spiritual issues need to be addressed, more importantly, to listen. It is not a pleasant process, but it is a freeing process in the end.
Both giving forgiveness and asking for forgiveness are probably my most vulnerable areas for accumulating spiritual lint. This saddens me, especially since forgiveness is at the center of Christ’s sacrifice for me. But truth be told, I can be stingy with forgiveness. There is often an internal battle of excusing actions I deem insignificant. It can be a seemingly minor infraction, perhaps a snippy response to my dear husband when I am tired; “No big deal, I tell myself, I am tired.”
But it is a big deal. Each time I fail to ask for forgiveness, there is a buildup of hardness. It is a type of spiritual plaque clogging the free flow of God’s spirit just as the buildup of bad cholesterol inhibits blood flow. Eventually, I risk not hearing God’s gentle prompting: That was unnecessary, apologize.” Jesus reminds us in Luke 16:11 (NASB), “The one who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and the one who is unrighteous in a very little thing is also unrighteous in much.”
Every time I ignore the Lord’s conviction in a minor matter, I risk falling into sin in a significant matter, progressively searing my conscience (Ephesians 4:18-19).
The beautiful truth is my Father knows my weakness. He has provided His son’s sacrifice and the means for the daily cleaning of my spiritual filters. It is confession: the acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Confession is not for God’s sake but for ours. The Lord knows as we acknowledge our offenses, we keep our relationship with Him and others healthy.
As we practice confession, we build spiritual muscle memory, which makes confession easier and more automatic.
I feel freer when I confess my sins. It is an intentional act of giving up my pride. There is a sense of refreshment and renewal. At the same time, I am allowing the fruits of the spirit to grow and thrive.
I love what Louise Smith, a top level women NASCAR drivers, said: “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.” It’s time for spring cleaning. I encourage you to join me by letting go of any accumulated spiritual lint or clutter of old hurts, unforgiveness, disappointments, and pride. Make room for all that God has provided. He has given us the imperishable gifts of love, joy, peace, and forgiveness.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” James 5:16 Amplified Bible
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Dyann Shepard is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, Bible teacher, former staff member of CRU, former Stephen’s Minister and retired CPA. Her passion is writing about God’s transforming power in our daily lives as we open our hearts to Him. Her Bible study Wisdom: Capturing the Power of our Words is scheduled for release in the summer of 2022.
Join the conversation: Are you holding on to spiritual clutter?