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Sunday, September 22, 2013 am                Pure in Heart Index 

PURER IN HEART – 14
Dangers to the Pure Heart – 4
Business and Clutter

 The past few weeks we have been discussing dangers to the pure heart.  We have discussed the various avenues of lust, ignorance and unbelief.  As we continue our study of dangers to the pure heart, we now want to focus on some things that can overtake us subtly. We want to discuss some things that can creep in and ruin us if we are not alert.  We want to discuss business and clutter. The danger of these things lies in their innocence.   Both business and clutter involve things not wrong within themselves.  In fact, the things we are doing and accumulating may be good things, but if they are not managed they can crowd out the pure heart.  Remember how we have noted that purity involves not only being unpolluted, but also undiluted.  These are things that can dilute the heart.

 I.                    Busyness

a.        It is no secret that we need to be busy.  Jesus set the example as He “went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38).  He accomplished so much.   
Furthermore He taught His disciples to be busy because our time is limited – Luke 10:2 – He taught the harvest is great and the laborers are few.”
John 9:4 Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”
Titus 2:14 speaks of a people zealous for good works. 
Truly the life of a Christian is to be filled with good works, time spent worshipping God, doing for others and personal growth.   

b.       Laziness is condemned in scripture.   
Prov. 18:9, “He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.”
Prov. 24:30-34 describes the decaying home of the lazy man.
The one talent man was condemned as a “wicked and lazy servant” (Matt. 25:26)
As we examine this  subject I do not want us to think that our task is to sit around all the time and think without doing anything.  That is laziness and it is unproductive.  It will NOT produce fruit.   

c.        BUT, having said this, busyness can become a danger to the pure heart.

d.       The problem of busyness. 

                                                   i.      Being too busy in our society is NOT hard to do!  There is so much to do around us.  We have more choices than ever before and greater resources to avail ourselves of them. 

                                                  ii.      One of the greatest dangers today among Americans is that we are doing too much.  Often times we overcommit.  We agree to do more than we can really handle.  The result is stress, a failure to take care of ourselves, and often what we do is not done effectively.

                                                iii.      With all the modern conveniences we have, you would think that you would have more time to do other and better things.  And it is true (we have modern conveniences).  But the problem is we fill up that extra time with extra-curricular activities and often crowd God out of the picture.

                                                iv.      Because of busyness, there is little time left to take care of our bodies, our families, friendships and other important things. 

e.       The dangers of busyness.

                                                   i.      Being too busy can affect both our spiritual vitality. (e.g. purity of heart)

                                                  ii.      Often in busyness, the more important things in life are neglected.  
Consider Mary and Martha in Luke 10:41-42

                                                iii.      It is possible that we fail to put God first in our lives (Matt. 6:33).  Sometimes what we give Him is the leftovers OR we put Him on the back burner.   Let me ask you:  What happens when there is a scheduling conflict between doing something for God or something else.  How often does the “something else” win out?  I realize things come up.  We have jobs and responsibilities.   Emergencies happen.  BUT are they the norm?  Do we bring on more than is essential?  How OFTEN does God’s will win out over our commitments?

                                                iv.      It may cause us to miss out on opportunities.  We might miss out on that “open door” or occasions which will promote strong spiritual growth.  It can cause us to neglect doing what we need to do – such as attending, person study time, prayer, etc.

                                                  v.      We may fail to take the necessary time to asses our spiritual condition – 2 Cor. 13:5.  From time to time we need to do this.  Are we so busy there is little time to sit down and examine our spiritual well-being?

                                                vi.      We may fail to give Him the QUALITY He deserves – lesson preparation, giving as we ought to, time doing the needful things.

f.         Another danger – Can we become so busy doing GOOD things that we neglect that which is more needful?  We can even fill our lives (and churches) with good and even godly activities that simply take time away from what is more important – developing a pure and healthy heart! 

g.        The answer to busyness is time management and prioritization.   

                                                   i.      We must still seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33)

                                                  ii.      We have to redeem the time – Eph. 5:15-16 – walk circumspectly and redeem the time.

                                                iii.      We NEED to find time for private study and prayer.  This is not a suggestion.  It is IMPERTIVE for spiritual growth.  We need to make time for others. 

h.       Much more on this later in the year as we discuss keeping the heart pure.

 II.                  Clutter – 

a.        It is associated with the busyness we just discussed as well as materialism.  What I mean by clutter is a life filled with stuff that is not necessary or too much stuff.    
NOTE: For the sake of this lesson, let’s assume that the things we accumulating are good, the activities we are doing are not wrong within themselves, and the places we go are good.
BUT, when we put everything together what we often find is overcrowded lifestyles.    

b.       Things sometimes get in our way

                                                   i.      There is a sense in which material clutter is related to what we are discussing here.   Sometimes we accumulate so much stuff (i.e. junk) that it requires resources to manage it or we have so much that we are overwhelmed and FAIL to manage it leading to a disorganized life. 

                                                  ii.      Activities get in our way – work, recreation & entertainment (with which we are obsessed as a nation), , family “obligations” and “activities”, etc.  Have you ever let some activity keep you from attending services? A ball game, a camping trip, some school activity, an office party, etc.?

                                                iii.      Our minds are filled with distractions: worry, full schedules, meaningless trivia, too many things to think about, etc.   We are stressed out because we have so much going on that we can’t possibly manage it all effectively. 

                                                iv.      Emotions might get in our way – such as a failure to forgive ourselves or others, bad habits that we struggle to break which lead to guilt, our unwillingness to give up worldliness so there is a continual conflict in our lives, etc. - we sometimes call this emotional baggage.

c.        We need to simplify our lives as Christians. 

                                                   i.      When we look at everything we have now, some who are wise and older ask, “What did we do BC?”   The BC stands for “before computers”.    Some talk about “the good old days”.  There is something to say about the simpler lives of times past (i.e. the little house on the prairie).  Certainly they were not without their problems and I do not advocate returning to that era (we have too many things that are far better now in a good way), but there is something to be said about the amount of time we spend watching television, computer surfing, and other ways we consume many of the 168 hours a week (which is a constant that cannot change).
While teaching doctrinal error as a religion, the reason why the Amish shun electricity in their homes is, at least partly, because of this very thing.
My point is that there is a reason why people don’t attend worship services, study the Bible at home, get to know their neighbors, and many other things like they used to.  They don’t have time. 
I am convinced this is also responsible for the change in morality and the approach to how the church is viewed in our society.  Churches are seeking to cater to the entertainment driven attitudes of so many and IGNORANCE because we don’t have time to give to God leads to acceptance of immoral lifestyles.

                                                  ii.      THOUGHT: If you determined that some of these things were standing in your way of serving God as you ought to would you give them up?  Jesus in Matt. 5:29-30 said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  While Jesus was not advocating mutilation, what He was saying is that WHATEVER stands in your way of serving God has to go! 

                                                iii.      The simple life of a Christian – lead a quiet life.  and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” (1 Thessalonians 4:10–12)

                                                iv.      We need to find some private time for ourselves to study and pray. 
Jesus had the garden of Gethsemane.  We know it as the place where Jesus was betrayed, but Luke 22:39 tells us it was His custom to go to the Mount of Olives.  The garden of Gethsemane is there.  He would often rise early in the morning to pray – Luke 5:16, etc.
We need a place like that in our own lives.  Our prayers need to be private (Matt. 6:6).

                                                  v.      The answer to clutter is also time management and prioritization.  But it also involves letting go of some things you don’t really need.

                                                vi.      We need to learn to balance our lives.  This is a difficult thing to do, but Oh so necessary.  It requires wisdom to determine what is really necessary.

                                               vii.      We need to learn to say “no”.  If we don’t have time to do something, say no!  You CANNOT do everything everyone wants you to.  Gary Henry described the term stress in the following terms, “Stress is when your heart says, ‘Don’t do it; your priorities will suffer’ – but your mouth says, ‘Why sure, I’d be happy to.’

 

And thus we can see another danger to the pure heart.  There certainly are many of them to be aware of.  We have also begun discussing solutions to these dangers. We will develop this more as our study progresses.  In our next lesson we want to address emotional attitudes that endanger the heart.  Until then, may we continue to examine ourselves and where we see dangers – let’s take care of them!