It seems these are the most uncertain days we’ve ever seen as a society, and even those who love God aren’t quite sure what they are to be doing.  I’m often asked, “What do you think God wants me to do?  I’m just not hearing any clear direction.”  Really, the LORD is still speaking, but sometimes we let “stuff” get in the way of hearing from God.
    What do I mean by “stuff”?  Well, that depends upon your own particular situation.  Just the other day I watched a show on TV about people who hoard things.  This lady lived in a house that was so full of “stuff” that she had to walk over it to get across a room, things stacked to the ceiling in some places, leaving herself just a narrow path to navigate through.  There is no way she could have found any one item if she wanted to, because most of it was buried under several layers of stuff.  And though she had no room to get anything out and actually use it, she was not willing to part with any of it to make room for what she really wanted to use.  Clutter had overtaken her life, and it was plain to see she had long since given up on ever having any order and discipline in her life.  How did this come about?  Well, apparently when she went out and brought something home, it made her feel all warm and fuzzy inside that she had a new treasure.  But before long, she would go treasure hunting again because the last thing she acquired no longer satisfied, and she needed a new “fix”, over and over again until her life had spun out of control completely.  Now, instead of her having “stuff”, the “stuff” ran her life.  She not only could not enjoy her home anymore, but she couldn’t use any of the stuff she loved either.
    I said all that to say this: abundance is nice, but we can have too much of any good thing until it becomes a snare to us.  When we were kids we probably would have been happy to eat nothing but candy and ice cream.  Thankfully, our parents wouldn’t let us do that.  No, they wanted all the candy and ice cream for themselves….Just kidding of course.  As we go through life, it is normal for us to accumulate things we want to be surrounded with, and that shows in the kind of furniture and décor you find in any home you go into.  If you want to know what someone loves in their heart, go to their house and have a look around.  If someone loves to read, you’ll find lots of books.  If they love to listen to music, you’ll find sound equipment and recordings.  If they love flowers, you’ll find them not only outside, but inside the home.  If they love kids, they will have a number of them around, along with toys and everything that goes with having kids.  If they love cars, the garage and driveway and maybe even the yard will be full of them.  You get the idea.
 What happens when someone loves God?  Their relationship with God will fill their life, just like furniture fills your home.  But what happens to a house when you just can’t keep from bringing in just ONE MORE THING?  It gets cluttered.  When someone loves God with all their heart, the things of God become the priorities of their life.  They will MAKE time to pray, to study the Bible, and to serve God in whatever way He directs them to. 
   Everyone has necessary things they have to do in life, such as working a job, or cleaning and maintaining their home and vehicles, preparing meals, doing laundry, it’s just a fact of life.  And God knows we all deal with that.  But sometimes, we will see something we want to do, or even something we thing GOD wants us to do, and we will bring it into our life.  Picture your life as a large jar, what will you fill it with?  Imagine three large stones that you can put in your jar, representing God, family, and a job.  We will say just those three things pretty much fill your jar.  But it isn’t full yet. We will say you love to play golf, or fish.  We will use sand to represent those items.  Oh yes, you can pour quite a bit of sand in between the rocks.  And yet the jar still has a little room left.  You want to go to church too, so we will let water represent church.  Now, you pour in water, and you’re full to the top.  Assuming your jar is not made of rubber, you can’t squeeze anything else into it. 
    What happens if you change the order of things a bit? Suppose you fill the jar with water to the top?  What happens?  You can forget getting the rocks and sand in it.  There are some people who actually go to church so much, that they are of no earthly good to anyone, they can’t hold a job or raise a family, and yes it happens, I’ve seen it personally. Suppose they fill their jar with sand?  There is no room for the rocks, which represent what is really important to them, though they might get a little water in, but not much.  In order for things to work in your life, those things that are most important to you must go in first, THEN add the other stuff.  But beware, lest you fill your jar so full that it keeps you from enjoying the most important things.
    Some people start off well in their relationship with God, giving Him proper place in their life, and spending quality time building a relationship with Him, to the point that when He whispers in a still, small voice, their life is uncluttered enough that they’re paying attention, and hear Him.  You see, as we accumulate “stuff” in our life, whether things, or friends, or going to meetings, everything we add to our 24 hour day, takes time away from our relationship with God.  I’m not saying to remove everything except God from your life.  No, that is out of balance too.  You can read in Genesis that God would visit Adam and Eve daily in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day.  He didn’t spend 24/7 with them, so they had time to do other things too. In fact, He put them in the Garden to take care of it, so He knew they had other things to do.  But especially in this day and age, we must be careful not to let the things of this life lead us gradually away from our walk with God.  I know that has happened when I hear people tell me that they just aren’t hearing clear direction from God anymore.  Maybe you find you have too much clutter in your life and you need to clear some of it out and free up some time.  It may not be easy, but it’s worth it to be able to once again hear God when He speaks to you.  Actually, “stuff” speaks, SHOUTS, at us, so loud that we feel forced to pay attention.  And God will wait patiently, never interrupting, getting less and less of our time, until one day, He is shut out completely.  That’s a sad day when we’ve shut out the very One who loves us the most.  But we’ve courted another lover, and that’s our “stuff”.  It’s no wonder God cannot lead and guide us through the perils of this life, we just aren’t making time to listen to Him.  Go figure.
    If you really want to do something enough, you will MAKE the time to do so.  If you want to go on a vacation bad enough, you will plan and save and you won’t let anything come up to change your plans.  Isn’t God more important than a vacation?
    Do you really want to know God’s will for your life?  Then you’ll have to MAKE time for Him, for He will not force Himself upon you.  It is written in Jeremiah 29:11-13, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then ye shall call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, AND I WILL HEARKEN UNTO YOU.  And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.
   It’s amazing that while we demand a full-time God, we offer ourselves to Him as part-time servants.  Doesn’t seem fair somehow, does it?  Knowing how much God loves each and every one of us should motivate us to clear the clutter from our lives, so we can know Him better. Here’s how to do it: figure out what’s really important to you in light of eternity, not just the “here and now”.  Do you really need to serve on that committee?  Do you really need to take on that project?  Do you really need to be busy all the time?  Learn to say “NO” sometimes, the world won’t stop turning if you get off the merry-go-round.  Believe it or not, people’s lives will not end if you stop letting them use you for their own convenience.  After all, they are probably hoping you will do for them what they don’t want to take time out of their day to do for themselves.  Am I saying be selfish, it’s all about you?  No. in reality It’s all about you and GOD.   Empty your jar and leave everything out that does not fit your eternal goal.  Put the important stuff in first so you know there’s room for it. Who says the jar has to be full, anyway?  More is NOT always better, of course you know that already.  Simplify your life, and you and God will both be glad.