As a husband and father to 4 boys, I have seen much in the way of messiness. I have seen boo boo’s that widen the eyes and cause panic; however, I have also seen boo boo’s that call for wasting precious band-aids simply so the youngster will take his scarcely scraped knee like a “man.” I have dealt with the logic behind every excuse and reasoning from toddler to teen. One thing that has continually stood out is that of the messy room. It’s a feeling of dread as you climb the stairs and open the foreboding door. It leads to an alternate dimension where you are sure one of your children live, but can no longer discern how or where.
You know what I am talking about. One wrong move could spell disaster. Lego blocks strewn across the floor, storage tubs laying on their side and remnants of terrible battles waged between Lego dragons and army men still lying about. The thought then arises, how does one find anything in this place of disorder? Growing up I remember that while I was not what one would consider a modern “minimalist” I was one to stay periodically organized. It seemed good that something could be found or played with when needed; therefore, things usually had a place.
As I got older and realized that “stuff” started to build up, I would simply purge. We still occasionally do this with things, toys, papers and stuff. This idea of purging seems rather foreign to youngsters and it can be difficult to comprehend let alone partake in. But it is important if we are to focus on the things that matter. Back in Egypt, I recall Pharaoh’s response to Israel’s desire to go and worship their God, “You are idle (or lazy) you are idle that is why you say let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.” In Exodus 5:2 Pharaoh says, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” Pharaoh’s desire was to keep the nation of Israel busy working for him so that they would “forget” about serving “this God.”
We are not slaves to Pharaoh; however, we can become slaves to other things. Like Pharaoh’s desire to keep the nation of Israel busy and not worshiping the LORD, we too become too busy to worship the LORD as He deserves. The average home has 2-3 televisions, 1-2 gaming consoles, computers, and other mobile digital devices. Soon our lives and homes become so cluttered that we are unable to discern a path through the mess. Our physical “room” becomes messy and before long our spiritual room is so cluttered that God is left completely out of the picture. Some will say, “I may have a messy room but I still engage scripture and pray.”
While this may be true, the amount of time we spend on digital devices away from God train our mind and rewire our desires and it shows. For example, let us say we spend 30 minutes in the morning with God in prayer and Bible reading. During that 30 minutes, count how many times you pick up your phone, think about doing something else and consider where the desire of your heart and mind truly is. We are so bombarded by the things of this world that we can no longer discern where God is in our mess. I understand, we as a people are inundated with calls for our attention, marketed on every front, and assaulted with new shiny gadgets every few months, that we “just have to have!” so, what can we do?
Like the aforementioned fallen Lego dragons and army men , we must wage war on this mentality that has so consumed us. I mean really put these desires to death. I heard it said one time, if you really want to know how important something is find a bench in front of a graveyard and ask yourself “what eternal value does it have?”
Matthew 6:19-21 says:
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Can you just feel how heavy that truth bomb is? We were made to worship, and we will always worship something, the problem is not worship but our sinful desires that entice us to worship everything but God. Therefore, we accumulate to ourselves “things” that have no eternal value and do nothing to spread the Glory of God nor His precious Gospel. We sit continuously in front of our screens assuming we are living life when the people in front of us are ignored. We flood ourselves with information and post constantly in an attempt to see and be seen; to know and be known, but all of this is inherently full of sinful selfishness and pride.
Ravi Zacharias said, “Our right to know assumes our right to know and see everything, and that we have the wisdom to respond appropriately. Both of those assumptions are false.”
Hear me on this as I cannot stress it enough. You must organize your time and do it with intentionality. I know some people just do not thrive at organization but it can be learned. It may not seem important, but when you have reached the end of your day barely wading through the chaos and ask yourself “what just happened to my day?” its importance starts to feel heavy. It is in these moments that we realize how much time we waste on frivolous things with no eternal impact.
We must forecast our time with the Lord, so that we are able to put away the things of this world and submit to him mentally and within our heart. If everything we are flows from our heart (Proverbs 4:23), then it seems good to organize time with the Lord with intentionality. The definition for intentional is “done on purpose.” Using the word intentional is a nice way of saying, DO IT!
Force it if you have too but understand that doing something with intentionality means to do it on purpose. We all do many things with intentionality: cooking, cleaning, scrolling, watching, playing, talking, and a mess of others. However, when it comes to time with our Creator we seem to forget what intentionality means. Start out small and intentionally spend time with God one day a week; then move it to two, and continue to increase until it is an intentional part of your day every day. Do not sell out to the world’s hedonism. It is exactly the opposite of what we are called to do as Christians.
We must cry out to God in prayer pleading for help in this area. I know its tough, I know we all have like a bazillion things to do and I know that we get tired, overworked, frustrated, and dare I say it, lazy. But we must persevere in the faith which was given us in Christ Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit. Spending time with our Creator uninterrupted must be an intentional battle against the prince of the power of the air. We will not depart from our idleness (television, internet, mobile phone, games, etc..) unless we cry out to God for His strength to overcome. This has to be done continually. We must seek His help through the empowering of the Holy Spirit each moment of each day. Cry out to the Lord in prayer and seek His help.
Jesus said to ask in His name and it will be given. Rightly understanding Jesus’ words means asking for that which is in line with the Lord’s will. Think about the word “in line.” In line skates typically have 4 wheels. God at the front, Jesus next, the Holy Spirit and then you, or me. If we put ourselves first, subsequently leaving God, behind we can be sure to wreck. The easiest times to worship God are when we feel like it, the hardest is when we don’t. Therefore, get in line with God and cry out to Him for help in both and He will honor your cry. Our spiritual room is messy, we need to clean it!