I’m on a mission.
I’ve been piling items in a black trash bag. One item for every day of Lent. A shirt. A pair of shoes. A candle. A comforter (that I never use) stashed in a closet. My goal is to take the bag to the Salvation Army at the end of 40 days.
My house will be a little less cluttered, and it will benefit someone else.
It’s amazing the things we acquire. It’s also kind of amazing that we keep those things — even though we don’t want them.
Yesterday we looked at areas where we are the least thankful. Was that hard for you? It can feel painful to rummage through the drawers of our hearts.
So what do we do when we find that we are walking around with a lot of emotional junk we never wanted in the first place?
Don’t pile more junk on
One of the hardest stories in the Bible to read is that of Judas Iscariot. He was chosen. Jesus saw something in him. Something good.
Jesus told Judas Iscariot, along with the others, that following him wasn’t going to be easy. There would be hard days. There would be nights they slept with only a rock for a pillow. They’d leave everything familiar to find a new path.
He also told them they’d be changed by the adventure. They’d walk daily with Jesus. They’d see miracles and learn at the feet of the Savior.
At some point Judas picked up some junk. A little complaining. A little griping. A lot of discontent. Junk piled on top of each other, leading only to more junk.
In John 12:3-6, a woman pours out costly perfume over Jesus’ feet. He’s changed her life, and this is her way of showing Jesus her gratitude. This is a stunning moment. One that should cause Judas to dance in joy. A woman’s life has been changed!
Instead, Judas complains about the cost of the perfume. He gripes that it could have been sold for a tidy sum.
John tells us the reason why Judas responds this way: Judas was the caretaker of the money box, and he was stealing from it.
He had become a thief.
This didn’t happen overnight. He didn’t go from “chosen” to thief in a day. It started with discontent. Which led to to greed. Which led to stealing.
Discontent completely derailed Judas from his purpose.
Why do we call out our junk? It’s because God has more for us than that.
He didn’t promise easy. He didn’t say that we’d never have hardships. He does tell us that the enemy tries to distract and destroy us from God’s best (John 10:10a).
He also promises to be with us to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:20).
He said we’ll discover joy that isn’t rooted in what we have (Romans 15:13) and that fills us even in trials (1 Peter 1:6-9).
He promises an abundant life (John 10:10b).
We give our junk up.
Long before Judas betrayed Jesus, he had options.
What if Judas had talked to Jesus about his discontent?
What if he had noticed the miracle in the woman’s life instead of focusing on the cost of the perfume?
What if he had acknowledged the junk, long before it piled up and led him down the wrong road?
What if his kiss on Jesus’ cheek had been that of gratitude, rather than betrayal?
Thankfulness is not a feeling but rather a choice of our will.
We are unafraid to scoop out the junk in our own life because we are chosen.
Chosen to love others. Chosen to let his light shine through us. Chosen to be noticers, to be adventurers, to be world changers.Thankfulness is not a feeling, but a choice of our will. #ComeWithMe #21DayChallenge Click To Tweet
We give our junk up. We take it to God. And if it’s been there awhile, we aren’t afraid to be honest about that.
Lord, I’m discontented and I don’t like this feeling. I give this to you today, and tomorrow, and every day thereafter until it’s no longer junk in my life. Show me the source of my discontent.
Lord, I’m piling up complaints and accusations in my heart. It spills from my mouth. Help me to become a noticer of the miracles.
Maybe we are struggling, but see how hard he’s working. Maybe she has a nicer house, but thank you for the laughter in this one. Maybe my feet are tired, but thank you for my job.
Jesus, remove this junk out of my heart. Put my feet back on the path I once walked.
When we give up our junk to him, it really goes . . . up.
The Holy Spirit gently shows us areas that need emptied. We ask God to break habits or patterns that drag us down, that drag others down with us.
Will you consider giving up your junk?
Words that make others feel “less than”.
Imagine a large black bag. Every day it fills with the junk you no longer want. Instead of you placing it there, you are offering it up and he’s making the deposit.
The more you are emptied, the more room there is for God to take up residence in you.
You might miss your old junk at first, because it’s familiar. Starting something new always offers a learning curve.When we allow God to empty us of junk, we make more room for joy, more room for strength. #ComeWithMe Click To Tweet
You might try to take it back a time or two, like the time my father-in-law rummaged in the trash to pull out the vacuum cleaner that hadn’t worked for ten years. You know, the one he planned to fix one day. If you do that, offer it back up. Don’t let it back into your life.
The more we offer up our junk, the more you start to recognize it as junk.
The less we want it. The less it defines us. The less it distracts us from God’s best.
Day #3 of Living a Life of Thank You.
If you own a copy of Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads, read pages 122-126.
Our 21-Day Adventure so far:
Day #1 – God dwells in joy and strength
Day #2 – We define the areas we are the least thankful
Day #3 – We offer it up.
Q: What does it look like to offer up our junk? Name one practical way to do this.
Q: Why do we hold on so tightly to our junk?
- In Luke 22:1-3, Judas goes to the authorities to betray Jesus. Even at that moment, he could have made a turnaround. Jesus would have welcomed a repentant heart. No matter how deeply ingrained your junk might feel, it’s not too late for transformation. Make this a matter of prayer. Go to him today, knowing he welcomes your repentant heart
- What is the cost of your junk? Hold that up to him. Shine a light on it. Rejoice that it’s being removed from your identity, from your heart.