The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, May 3, 2022 comes to us from Megan L. Anderson of Indiana.
14 Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts? 15 A voice is announcing from Dan, proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim. 16 "Tell this to the nations, proclaim concerning Jerusalem: 'A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah. 17 They surround her like men guarding a field, because she has rebelled against me,' " declares the Lord. 18 "Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!" Jeremiah 4:14-18 NIV
The apartment building I had lived in for four years closed. As my neighbors and I began to move out, I marveled at the amount of stuff people had been able to fit into their apartments. My own quarters had been pretty bare, but there was always plenty of room for the regular stream of friends coming in and out to visit. Had I accumulated more things, there would not have been enough space for all of the shared meals, impromptu dancing, and games of charades with those I cared about.
Though I’m not an avid collector of material possessions, I do have a tendency to store up unnecessary and even dangerous things in my heart: grudges, hard words, hypocritical thoughts, and bad attitudes. My heart can become so disorderly that there’s little room left for God or other people. Unless I give the Holy Spirit complete freedom to remove everything that isn’t valuable, I will remain isolated in the cramped confines of spiritual clutter. God longs to live close to us, to share the space of our lives so we can enjoy intimacy with God and with one another. Clearing the junk out of our hearts can be difficult, but when we do, we open ourselves to experiencing life as God meant it to be.
Recently, I have been working to eliminate a lot of the “stuff” I have accumulated over the years. As I box that it up for the rummage sale, sometimes I wonder what I might have saved, both financially and spiritually, if I had not acquired and “held on” to all of that “stuff”. Megan L. Anderson reminds me that, like the “stuff” I have accumulated, the anger, frustration, and regrets that sometimes seem to occupy my spirit can take up the room that is far better occupied by the Holy Spirit. When I lean toward God’s Spirit, I become more empowered to recognize that I am a blessing from God, and therefore called to be a blessing to God’s world.
Dear God, thank you for loving us enough to enter our messy hearts and clear space for eternal life. Amen.
--Megan L. Anderson
People who have lost their housing.
Thought for the Day:
What do I need to clean out of my heart to make more room for God.