1 Peter 4:1-11
Clutter is anything that keeps you from living the life that you were meant to live, and anything that stops you from accomplishing your work and enjoying your life. Clutter is “anything that you’re keeping that doesn’t add value to your life.” It follows, then, that decluttering is removing those things that take away from your life or don’t add value to it. Organizing is not the answer. Organizing stuff you don’t use, need or love wastes your time, space, energy and money! And it doesn’t solve the root of your clutter problem. Eventually, the stuff you carefully organize will make its way out of your baskets, containers and systems and clutter your life again.
Decluttering is the process of getting rid of things you don't need. This might mean cleaning the clutter off of dining room tables, out of closets or hallways, off of our desks, and away from our work areas so we can function more efficiently. But it’s more than just things. We have to clear the clutter out of our worldview; clear the clutter out of our mental space; clear the clutter out of our lifestyle and moral or relationship choices so that we can operate more efficiently and function more effectively. Having cleared the mental clutter, we can get to the feet of Jesus faster and stay longer and be His agent in the world.
Nearly all of the declutter experts will have some version of this one piece of advice. Get two boxes. Label one box “Keep or Donate.” Label the second box “Discard or Trash”. That is the basic beginning to decluttering your life. Peter is the “declutter” expert. In 1 Peter 4:1-6, we could label it his “Discard or Trash” box. 1 Peter 4:7-11, we could label it his “Keep or Donate” box. The key to decluttering your life is to recognize what you need to discard, trash, or get rid of and what you need to keep and find a place for in your life.
While it may not seem possible, all the different types of clutter that there are (physical clutter, emotional clutter, digital clutter, spiritual clutter) - there’s one statement that sums it up: “Clutter is postponed decisions (Barbara Hemphill).” If your life is cluttered, it’s time to make a decision. Peter is trying to get you there. Verse 3 "For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do…" Discard it! Then, Peter says… in verse 8 "Above all, love each other deeply…" Keep it!
Peter wants to give you the cure of a cluttered life:
Solitude (Prayer – vrs.7). Get some separation between you and your clutter.
Surrender (v.8). Let stuff go.
Stewardship (v.9). Managing your things well, so they can be useful in ministry to others. God owns it all.
Service (v.10). Add value to everything by making things better for others.
If you want to clear the clutter and simplify your life:
1. Take a step back and get the overview. It’s not a sin-free or suffering-free life; it’s an uncluttered life. Verse 7 ...Therefore be alert and of sober mind
2. Know what to keep and what to discard or pass on to others. That’s what Peter is telling you in all 11 verses.
3. Focus on the things that matter. Give the bulk of your time to these things. A clear mind, a few friends, a shared table, a joint mission. Verse 8 Above all, love each other deeply,
4. Slow down and be present. The people you care about are most important. That’s what hospitality is about. Verse 9 Offer hospitality to one another...
5. Live within your means. Overextended finances weigh on your mental peace. Verse 10 ...faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
6. Minimize screen time. Life sneaks past us while we’re scrolling. Peter didn’t deal with screens but he took on the party-animal lifestyle. Verse 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living...
What decisions are you postponing? There are always more things we should be concerned about, and give attention to, and make room for — somehow. Before long, it’s a life full of clutter. It’s a whirlwind of good intentions, but bad directions. And it usually stays this way until the arm of life intervenes, sometimes in a mighty sweep, and clears the table of our lives, leaving behind only a few things that are truly important. And there, you'll find a simple, uncluttered Jesus.