Summary: Here are practical steps on how to cooperate with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in changing your life to be more Kingdom centered. We must unclutter our lives and make changes that will reduce the obstacles to our transformation.
DON’T BE A SPIRITUAL PACKRAT
1. Jerome Dasso of Georgetown, Texas was visiting the great naval academy of Annapolis (in Rochester, New York). He saw several freshmen crawling around the main courtyard on their hands and knees with pencils and clip boards. He asked his tour guide, “What are they doing?” He answered, “Each year the upperclassmen ask the freshmen how many bricks it took to finish paving this courtyard.” Jerome asked, “So what is the answer?” And the guide answered, “One!” [RD, 12/19]
2. This kind-of fits in with our lesson tonight. God is trying to build the Kingdom of God in your life and it will helpful if you cooperate with Him in the construction.
3. To draw-out our thoughts on this subject, we’re going to study a little rodent which, though simple-minded, can teach us a lot about ourselves. I’m talking about the Packrat.
1. Definition of packrat: “a bushy-tailed rodent of N. America that has well-developed cheek pouches and that hoards food and miscellaneous objects.”
2. Packrats have been known to build nests in the walls of homes, in closets, in clothes dryers, and on top of car engines. It’s no wonder that a good number of car engine fires have resulted from the packrat nests catching on fire!
3. The most obvious characteristic of packrats is that they like to accumulate and store large amounts of needless articles. They don’t worry about whether the walls will break or the ceiling fall in, or whether the place is overrun with stuff.
4. The dictionary says that the term “packrat” can apply to people: “a person who collects things that they do not need.” So tonight we’re going to see if we have packrat tendencies, how this malady may affect us, and how we can deal with it.
5. The title of this message is, “Don’t Be A Spiritual Packrat.”
I. HOW TO RECOGNIZE IF YOU’RE A PACKRAT
A. PHYSICAL PACKRAT CHARACTERISTICS
It’s very possible you and I may have packrat tendencies. Let’s answer a few random questions to see if the shoe fits:
1. Do you have shoes you haven’t worn for years but haven’t thrown away? How many would you guess?
2. Do you have books you’ve never read but won’t throw out?
3. What % of the clothes in your dresser have you not worn in three years? More than 30%? Yep!
4. Is every closet full of stuff? How long since you used it?
5. Do you store stuff under your beds?
6. Do you have a garage or storage unit? How long has it been since you actually used half the stuff there?
7. There is a spiritual parallel to all this, because if we let this happen to our physical house, it’s very possible it might be happening to our spiritual house. You don’t have to have long whiskers or a tail to have packrat tendencies!
B. SITUATION OF THE SPIRITUAL PACKRAT
1. If you’re a Christian, then you have Jesus living inside you; YOUR HEART IS CHRIST’S HOME! Jesus should have free reign over your time, your mind, your friendships, your financial dealings, etc. He should have freedom and room to work in His reconstruction of your life according to God’s will.
2. But a spiritual packrat is someone who allows their life and faculties to be so CLUTTERED by worldly things that the Lord Jesus has many obstacles and hindrances to perfecting our lives.
3. Imagine Jesus trying to do His carpentry work in someone’s overloaded garage; there’s just too much stuff, some things must be moved out just to get a little space to maneuver. This is an accurate description of many American Christians.
4. Let’s see how these behaviors can affect our lives.
II. SIGNS OF THE PACKRAT LIFESTYLE
A. WE ALLOW CLUTTER IN OUR LIVES
1. TIME CLUTTER (Schedule). From the time the alarm clock goes off in the morning until late, we have full schedules. Meals, kids, work, sports, social, family duties, church, bath & bedtime; our schedules are jammed tight. Jesus is lucky if He gets 5 minutes. It’s not called the “Rat Race” for nothing!
2. UNRESOLVED CONFLICTS litter our lives. We have damaged relationships in our families, at work, at baseball practice, at school, even at church. We see people we don’t want to face or deal with, so we put up walls and ignore the problems.
3. MONETARY CLUTTER – we have so many monetary commitments that we don’t have any money left over to give to Christ. He has no room to work in this area.
4. CLUTTERED THOUGHTS. Our minds are cluttered with social media drama, political news drama, work drama, the busyness of life, with stress, fears, and concerns. About the only thing that’s not cluttering our minds is Bible verses!