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Philippians 3:8 – I count everything as … rubbish. (ESV)

These words by the apostle Paul often come to mind when I help seniors de-clutter their homes. I see a lot of things get counted as rubbish — designated as dispensable. It's exciting to watch how the offloading of accumulations leaves home-dwellers happy and relieved. They enjoy their new space. It feels like a new lease on life — even as the years are ebbing away.

De-cluttering has its challenges. It takes courage to let our familiar "nest" get stirred up. It takes humility to let someone dig up long-forgotten items or reveal those embarrassing bits of junk. It takes mental effort to determine the destiny of each item — whether to the trash, thrift shop, or a friend. And it takes emotional energy to re-live memories triggered by items — things that signify a past career, a way of life, or a cherished loved one. Past griefs may be rekindled.

Similarly, de-cluttering our spiritual life is a challenge that requires courage. I call it God's De-Cluttering Program. It's God's process of freeing us up for new and unimagined possibilities. It involves experiences of loss, trials, and suffering — as it did for Paul. Paul lost everything that once gave him security and significance: the privileges of his Jewish heritage, his status as a gifted scholar, his respected position in society. Paul lost everything that had made him who he was: his entire identity. That's drastic de-cluttering! Yet, Paul willingly designated those blessings as dispensable — because he found something better:

    Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8 ESV)

In gaining Christ, Paul's entire life got re-purposed. You know what it means to re-purpose an item. It means that we adopt a new vision for it. For example, we no longer use it to preserve our past; we now use it to bless others. Rather than it pointing back, now it points ahead. This may be as simple as polishing up a stashed item and displaying it so that guests can enjoy it.

God's De-Cluttering Program involves a re-purposing of our lives. For Paul, it meant that he no longer needed his religious and social privileges for personal benefit. Now they would be used to bless others. Now God would use his knowledge and skills for the future — to establish and preserve the church. He would write epistles aimed to build mature character and keep God's people Christ-focused.

May you and I be among the many, many blessed through God's De-Cluttering Program in Paul's life.

Prayer: Lord, help us to appreciate Your De-Cluttering Program — whether applied to our most trivial possessions or our most significant commitments — that we may be freed up to embrace a revived vision for our lives — and most notably, to gain Christ. Amen.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good word, Diane.

    Thank you, Diane, for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure. I volunteer in a thrift store and love to see customers thrilled with their purchases!
    Thanks for your message.

    Dear Diane
    Thank you for writing. Amen to de-cluttering our selfishness wants of materialism, but instead be filled with the Spirit that leads to life.

    Thank you so much for your excellent devotional. It brought images clearly to my mind and reminded me of the decluttering both physical and spiritual that I need to do.

    Dear Diane,
    Thank you for your wonderful devotional for today. So appropriate for the Lenten season, de-cluttering to make room for Christ!
    I would like to share in our church newsletter, to help inspire others as it has done me. Credits would include your name and that is was from the PresbyCan devotional from Feb 27th.
    Thank you in advance.

    Good Wednesday morning Diane,
    Thank you for your devotional today that once again really hits home for me! You are a truly gifted sister in sharing God’s word that ‘brings it home’!
    You are a blessing!!

    Hi Diane,
    This is a perfect description of what I am now facing and I must admit that do find it difficult and disturbing. As a result, I just keep putting it off as if I had all the time in the world till my final graduation from this current life I am living.
    It is also a great reminder about de-cluttering my spiritual life which is forever. Thanks for the challenge of this inspired devotional.

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