Clear the Clutter | Part 2
Reasons For Lack.
If you’ve tried to clear the clutter in your life before but found yourself back in the same situation over and over again, there may be other deeper issues in your life that need rooting out. There are several reasons the Bible gives for having lack in our lives. I want to encourage you to examine your life and take practical action to root out what is hindering you from achieving all that God has for you. Here are some deeper issues, unwanted characteristics and bad habits that may be standing in your way. Your life will be sabotaged until you can “locate” and discover what it is that obstructs your fullest potential.
An unteachable spirit.
Proverbs 13:18 says, “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: “If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept criticism, you will be honored.” There have been many times I was so grieved and felt deep concern or sorrow for someone who suddenly decided they needed no accountability or teaching. When you stop learning, you stop growing. Anyone who will lead must know what it is to be led.
We should all be teachable, no matter who we are, no matter what our social status may be, no matter what God has called or appointed any of us to do in our lifetime.
We must continually maintain a teachable spirit, ever-learning, ever humble before God. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:10).
You could study just one scripture all your life and never get the fullness of the revelation of it. There is so much more depth to God and His Word than we have even begun to understand. A philosopher once wisely stated, “I am the wisest man of all for I have come to understand that I know nothing.”
Remember what God told the Israelites: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert...” (Psalm 95:7-10). God was angry with them for 40 years and they never entered His rest—His best—for them because they were a “stubborn and stiff-necked people.” They were unteachable. If you wonder if you have had an unteachable spirit, ask the Lord. Seek the Holy Spirit—He will show you.
God’s Word tells us that we become new creatures the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior.
That does not mean we instantly experience a new environment, new circumstances, new situations or new relationships. We become prosperous, successful and healthy when we receive God’s Word, speak God’s Word, meditate on it day and night, and live by it (Joshua 1:8). It takes effort to speak, effort to read and effort to study and meditate on God’s Word, and effort to do that every day, day in and day out.
The Bible warns against laziness, “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth; and thy want as an armed man”
Anyone who thinks God is going to simply rain His blessings down on you while you sit back and take it easy—you’ve been deceived. Laziness will never allow you to experience the fullness of the promises of God. Ecclesiastes 5:3 states, “For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.”
We must live by faith, but we are also to put works with our faith (see James 1:22). We are to act, to move out in that faith. You have to be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). It doesn’t get much clearer than that. And notice who is destroyed: My people. People who love God and have a relationship with Him are destroyed because of ignorance, a lack of knowledge, an awareness of information. They are lacking in an abundance of life because of the things they do not know. As Solomon said, “By knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches”
Perhaps you have heard the saying, “It’s what you don’t know that is killing you.” I have found that you can have a “right heart” and a “wrong head,” in which case you will live defeated or deficient in areas. As a child of God, it is vital to have a renewed mind (Romans 12:12) that possesses the perspective of God.
Oppressing the poor.
Proverbs 22:16, 22 says, “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want ... Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate.” Oppressing another person means keeping them down. God warned the Israelites about the poor, saying,
“Give generously to [the poor] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:10-11, NIV).
God increases the person who takes care of the poor— the person who is openhanded instead of closed-fisted. It is something He is very serious about, even telling the Israelites not to glean every single grain from their fields or grape from their vines, in order to leave some for the poor to harvest for themselves. The Bible tells us that we are not aware that some strangers may even be angels. What if there was an opportunity for you to receive “promotion” by someone who was placed in your life who had a need that could be met by you, who was poor, and you ignored the urging of the Holy Spirit and bypassed that person? God will lead you in your giving to find someone that is in a less fortunate situation than you. Give to them. Giving is not isolated to dollars and cents. It may be food, a hug, education, love or time. Everything in life can be a “seed” to be sown into the life of another person. Altruism is one of the greatest blessings you can experience.
Sometimes lack simply comes from misfortune.
This is clearly demonstrated in the life of the widow of Zarephath. Her story is found in 1 Kings 17. There was great famine in the land, and she had gone through nearly all of her flour and oil, having only enough left to make a small cake for herself and her son. After that, she anticipated starvation to set in, just as it had for so many others. Bad things can happen to good people. But God sent this little widow an opportunity. She had the option to take that cake for herself, and her son, or to make it for the prophet of God instead. That is a tough place to be. We all want to believe we would easily yield to a difficult decision because we are “so spiritual.” The truth is, obedience can be difficult when you are in a “pressure situation.” But she obeyed the illogical instruction of the prophet and God blessed her with abundance. The flour and oil did not run out throughout the entire famine and her household was not only preserved but prospered.
The Gospel is the book of Good News, and Romans 8:28 is exactly that: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” So when life does contain misfortune, look at it like this: “It’s not my stumbling block. This is just a temporary thing. It’s going to be my stepping stone. God’s taking what was meant for bad and turning it around for good.” Somehow, some way, there is “good” coming out of misfortune!
Don’t waste your trial but allow the painful places in your life to have purpose.
Deuteronomy 28 is all about the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience. I listed the blessings in the first chapter (Deuteronomy 28:2-13). But the curses are just as real:
If you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him... (Deuteronomy 28:15-20, NIV).
Part of getting “first things first” is to identify those things in your life that may be holding you back from walking in God’s best.
Once you can identify the problem, you are empowered to change it. If there is lack in your life, I encourage you to use the “spotlight” of God’s Holy Spirit to identify—and conquer—whatever is holding you back. He will gently reveal to you erroneous areas and equip you for correction and direction.
- Paula White Cain
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