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Cleaning Out the Closet of Your Past

As my wife and I prepare to move this summer, I find myself going through my closet once a week to figure out what else I need to get rid of. Over the past 25 years, I’ve accumulated a vast collection of golf attire and jackets. While I don’t wear every shirt, some of these remain on hangers as they hold great sentimental value. Yet, at some point I have to let go by cleaning out the closet of my past.

So kill (deaden, [a]deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God). It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), Colossians 3:5-6.

The Bible refers to a different kind of closet. Rather than doing a load of laundry, the apostle Paul refers to actions, behaviors and lifestyles you engaged in prior to becoming a Christian. These selfish desires need to be removed permanently, but many new believers find it hard to let go of their past. Just like the clothes still hanging in my closet, you need to rid your life of any former impulses and sensual desires.

That each one of you should know how to [c]possess (control, manage) his own [d]body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will, That no man transgress and overreach his brother and defraud him in this matter or defraud his brother in business. For the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we have already warned you solemnly and [e]told you plainly. For God has not called us to impurity but to consecration [to dedicate ourselves to the most thorough purity], 1 Thessalonians 4:4-7.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul provides a pep talk for anyone struggling to change for the better. Too many people make a public profession of faith, but live most of their lives like a chameleon, blending in depending upon their environment. Perhaps this explains the command in Matthew 16:24-27 to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. As you take steps toward cleaning out the closet of your past, you’ll begin to experience glimpses of the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10. May the start of a new month kick start the remainder of 2022.

by Jay Mankus

Whenever You Move… Don’t Trouble Your Mind with the Unknown

Moving is one of those events in life that provides a chance for a fresh start. Yet, when a move is beyond your control, saying goodbye to close friends and neighbors can be extremely difficult. I moved a few times as a child with the second from New Jersey to Delaware. While it was hard to leave my baseball friends, the neighborhood in Wilmington my parents moved into became like a second family to me.

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go, Hebrews 11:8.

While reading the Bible earlier in the week, I was reminded of Abram’s move from Haran. Genesis 12:1-3 details God’s conversation with Abram, similar to a calling from God or tugging on your heart that you might experience today. Abram was 75 years old when he left everything that he knew to start a new life with his nephew Lot. Faith enabled Abram to enter the unknown of a foreign land.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([b]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [c]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [d]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.

Sometime in the summer of 2022 I’ll be moving to South Carolina. This will be my first move in nearly 25 years. Yet, if I listen to the advice found in the Bible, I shouldn’t trouble my mind about the unknown. Nor should I allow anxieties of making new friends concern me. The best thing I can do is lift up all my worries to God in prayer. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am seeking a peace that transcends all understanding as I wait for this day to come.

by Jay Mankus

Inspector Clueso

After my wife and I had our first child in 1998, it was time to begin the search for our first home.  Novices in this area, I called upon my mother, a successful realtor for more than a decade, leaning on her expertise and knowledge to start this process.  Similar to Goldilocks and the 3 Little Bears, it took several visits to a half dozen homes before God led us to the right one.  The last step before giving an offer was the home inspection, a thorough examination by an expert to access the exterior, interior and every little nook and cranny to expose any flaws.

King Solomon talks about a different kind of home inspection within one of his Psalms.  “Unless the Lord builds the home, its builders labor in vain,” Psalm 127:1a.  Based upon a dream from 1 Kings 3:5-9, God blessed Solomon with a heavenly wisdom.  Thus, a home must be built upon a solid foundation to endure the storms in life.  However, structures must also be inspired by the Lord, built for the right meaning and purpose.

The apostle Paul used a similar method for home inspections in his day.  According to 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, each body is compared with a living temple.  Filled with many temporary things in life, believers are reminded that this is where the Holy Spirit was designed to reside.  Upon reading these passages, I am shocked at what I have found living in my own temple.  While painful, internal home inspections are a necessary evil, helping individuals measure their degree of commitment to the Lord.  Don’t put this inspection off another day.  Rather, use Galatians 5:19-23 as a check list to make sure every stone is uncovered.  In his search for the Pink Panther, Inspector Clueso never gave up!  While he was unsuccessful, all the Lord deserves of you is that you honor Him with your body!

by Jay Mankus

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