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!
5. CLUTTER OF UNCONFESSED SINS. We’ve been convicted by the Spirit about some things but haven’t had the courage or the desire to try to stop them.
6. CLUTTER OF BAD HABITS – anger, laziness, depression, drinking, online addictions, cursing, watching immoral shows, etc.
B. PACKRATS HOARD THINGS
1. Next, packrats hoard things to themselves and don’t give them away. They never know where their next meal will come from. There’s a certain wisdom in providing for the future.
2. But many people hoard things because they inwardly doubt that God will provide for them in the future, so they are always stocking up so their own needs will be taken care of. It’s ultimately a lack of trust that God will provide, so we must provide for them ourselves.
C. THEY ARE TAKERS, NOT GIVERS
1. The packrat personality may focus on its own needs and not give much thought to other people’s needs. It doesn’t cultivate a “giving spirit,” of being generous to outsiders, but is usually watching to collect more for itself.
2. So the overall picture is that they are more takers than givers. This is not the same spirit of Christ who gave freely of Himself, expecting nothing in return.
III. SECRETS OF GETTING RID OF THE PACKRAT
A. WHY HAVEN’T WE CLEANED UP BEFORE NOW?
1. Most people don’t clean up their lives because they don’t think it’s POSSIBLE TO CHANGE. Do you believe God can help you to change? Of course!
2. Others haven’t cleaned up their lives because they didn’t think they had the STRENGTH TO CHANGE. How many of you know that you’re pretty weak in your natural self? Yes, we all feel that way.
3. But the wonderful truth of the Gospel is that GOD will give you the strength to overcome. That’s why Paul said, “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST, who strengthens me!” Phip. 4:13. The same power available to him is available to us!
4. I’m glad to tell you the good news that “Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world!” 1 John 4:4; and “You are more than conquerors through Him who loves you!” Praise God!
5. As the old adage is, “Where’s there’s a will, there’s a way!” If you’ll take a step toward God, He’ll take 2 steps toward you!
B. IT’S TIME TO GET RID OF WORTHLESS THINGS
1. Paul & James talked about “Get rid of all…” Ephesians 4:31, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” We’re commanded to get rid of all the old BAD ATTITUDES. God never commands us to do something we can’t do, so realize that the God’s power is on you to set you free from these attitudes!
2. James said (1:21), “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you.” GET RID OF THEM! Instead, put the Word of God inside and it will displace the evil and immoral filth. Memorize Scripture; read it daily – it is your spiritual food!
3. Ephesians 4:22, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.” Just like you CHANGE CLOTHES every day, put off your old way of life and put on Jesus’ new way of living, in His power!
C. IT’S TIME TO DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE!
1. SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE. Getting closer to Jesus means we must simplify our lives, clean out the non-essentials from our schedules, so that we can spend quality time with Jesus. Remember MARY & MARTHA. Mary chosen the better part of sitting at Jesus feet, rather than rushing around in pointless activity.
2. RESOLVE YOUR CONFLICTS. Work out the issues you have with others; don’t let them continue. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” Matt. 6:14-15.
3. STOP OVERSPENDING so Jesus has room to work in your finances. Become one who gives to the needs of others
4. UNCLUTTER YOUR THOUGHTS. “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” Phip. 4:6-8.
5. GET RID OF UNCONFESSED SINS. When the Spirit convicts you about something, repent of it immediately and take steps to avoid it in the future. You have all the power to overcome it if you call on Jesus for help.
A. ILLUSTRATION: CHANGE YOURSELF FIRST
1. In John Maxwell’s book, “Developing the Leader Within You.” A Middle Eastern mystic [Eastern Orthodox Church?] said, “I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord, give me the energy to change the world.’
2. “As I approached middle age and realized that my life was half gone without my changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come into contact with me, just my family and friends, and I shall be satisfied.’
3. “Now that I am an old man and my days are numbered, I have begun to see how foolish I have been. My one prayer now is: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’ If I had prayed for this right from the start, I would not have wasted my life.’”
4. That’s kind of sad, but it has a good point – we should concentrate on cooperating with the Holy Spirit on ourselves first, since that’s the first area God wants to revolutionize. After that, we can go on to our kids or spouse or neighbor!
B. ILLUS: THEY WERE DIFFERENT by Leonard Ravenhill
1. “I remember crossing a square in the city of Bath, England in the 1940s. I saw two very fine young ladies - well, one was a young lady and the other was only a girl. They were beautifully dressed.
2. “As they marched across that square I thought, "There's something different about those girls." Then I discovered that they were princesses. The first was our present Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth, and her sister, Margaret.
3. “There was a dignity about them very different from anybody else who walked there. Well, as Christians, we are part of GOD'S Royal Family, and it should be evident to all that we meet that we are a different type of people.
4. “We shouldn't be affected by changing customs or changing styles or changing opinions….We ought to live every day as though we've come out of another world into this world - but with the power of that world still upon us. We should live and speak and move in that power, and have our whole being in Jesus Christ!
B. THE CALL
1. How many of you would agree that YOU have some areas of your life you need to CLEAR OUT to make more room for Jesus?
2. How many of you need to simplify your lives? Do you have anybody you need to forgive? Do some of you need to let Jesus be over your thought-life? To get rid of some bad attitudes?
3. Aren’t you glad that “You can do all things through Christ?” That “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world?” Come to the front and let’s pray.