I watched a program the other day on people who become hoarders.  This is when people cannot give away anything, refuse to throw anything out and the property soon fills up to the point where even the residents of the house can barely move.  The phenomenon is even being recognised as a mental illness.  People are unable to move on because in many cases they actually suffer from depression.  They become miserable because of the conditions they find themselves under and become even more depressed. These people need professional help to move on and get back on their feet.

Now on a more practical sense as humans we do become attached to “things” which we acquire in this life.  They do form a sense of comfort to us.  Having things is not wrong and this article is not meant to deride people who have things ornaments and keep sakes, because we all have things that we treasure and hold unto. 

This article is about the spiritual realities that can resemble the same phenomena.

As humans we are being called to move on in the things of God.  Simply treading water is not an option.  Sometimes there are things in our lives which hold us back from moving on in the things of God.  There may be things which we hoard like sinful habits and thoughts which do not glorify God.  Past experiences which make it difficult to appreciate God as a Father.   We all have a past and for some the inability to leave behind the past becomes a hindrance to moving on.  If God has forgiven our sins then the past should not be a reason to hinder us from moving on.  The sad part is that in many cases it does.  We are by nature a broken people.  Born and shape in iniquity, and as such we are not a whole people.  We come to God with a whole load of baggage, and God slowly over the years encourages us and helps us to unburden, so that we can run the race God wants us to run.  But letting go can be just as hard as any of those who hoard property.  But there is a sense that we need to let go of those habits which grieve and cling which the Bible calls the old nature.  It’s that part that is still connected to this world.  God desires a spiritual people whose interests are not of this world, but of the next.  I am not talking about the practicalities of helping people in this world, but of leaving behind all the guilt and insecurities which would hold us back from becoming the people God wants. 

James 4: 1  From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Long before the phenomena of hoarding was recognised the apostle James speaks on a similar vein of thinking.  The gospel offers up a very practical application that there are indeed conflicts within our lives because we hold unto things.  Wars erupt because our flesh wants to hold unto areas that grieve and separate us in our relationship with God.  

The apostle Paul shares this very intimate part of his life.

Rom 7: 14-20  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me

Rom 7: 24-25 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death. thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Man is not simply a soul but he also has a body that was by nature part of the fall.  The consequences were dramatic and tragic.  That body was sold into a sinful pattern because of the fall.  We sin because we are sinners.  This frame is still very much part of this fallen world and as such is motivated by that fallen condition.  Paul lays his heart bare and while he does actually state what his dilemma is we can most surely relate to his frustrations.  His soul has been redeemed, his spirit renewed, but his body has yet to put the new immortal imperishable and glorious attire.  We remain in this frame until we are either resurrected or the rapture.  We long as Paul does to be clothed with the imperishable.    In the mean time there are conflicts within us which move to and fro.  Desire which need to be overcome and practices to lay down and shame and guilt to be left behind.. 

Gal 1: 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.

I hope like Paul we can testify that what we were we are no longer.  What we will become is the hope we press forward to.  If that means empting and leaving behind what holds us back then let us do so.    The professional help that we need comes from God who is on help to deliver us from our wretched condition.    It is he who will empower us to move on.  To have the strength that says we are called to overcome.  We may not have arrived but the main thing is that we are progressing towards the goal.  We may be oppressed but we can be assured that we cannot be possessed.  We know conflicts and wars but greater is he that is within us than he that is in the world.

1 John 2: 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one

1 John 4: 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

We can rejoice because we know how the book ends, and we know we can be part of that great crowd that gathers to rejoice in the sweet victory that says we overcame.  Despite all the sufferings, the pains, the hardships we endured.    With Gods help let us lay down what hinders us and move on to perfection.

One day we will arrive!!!

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